FSA consultation into extending crime unit's powers

By Gwen Ridler contact

- Last updated on GMT

Stakeholders have been asked to share their views on plans to extend the NFCU's investagative powers
Stakeholders have been asked to share their views on plans to extend the NFCU's investagative powers

Related tags: Food crime unit, Standards

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has launched a public consultation seeking views on the proposed enhancements of the investigatory powers of the National Food Crime Unit (NFCU).

The public, public health professionals and food sector partners will be able to weigh in on the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act, which included a regulation power for the Secretary of State to confer additional investigatory powers upon food crime officers of the FSA in England and Wales.

FSA chief executive Emily Miles said: “The NFCU needs to be able to do its work effectively and efficiently to protect consumers and businesses from food fraud.

Crucial tool

“To do this the proposed changes are a crucial/vital tool to make sure that investigations can happen more quickly, while also freeing up local police services so their vital resources can be diverted to other priorities.

Miles made assurances that any use of these investigatory techniques would be restrained and focused on effective regulation to prevent and detect food crime, and subject to robust controls and external scrutiny.

“We remain committed to using any enhanced powers in a proportionate way that keeps the public safe, with strengthened safeguards and oversight arrangements to guard against their abuse,”​ she added. “We encourage everyone who wants to have their say to respond so that they can inform our work in the future.”

Closing date

Stakeholders in England and Wales are invited to respond to the twelve-week consultation ended 18 August 2022. The FSA intends to hold a consultation for Northern Ireland in due course.

This consultation does not apply to Scotland, where Food Standards Scotland’s dedicated Scottish Food Crime and Incidents Unit is responsible for delivering the food crime response.

The NFCU is a law enforcement unit of the FSA and it tackles serious, organised, or complex cases of crime in relation to food. Its role is to detect, investigate and disrupt serious fraud and related criminality within food supply chains, across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Meanwhile, Food Forensics managing director Alison Johnson highlighted the rise in food fraud and how to define a fraudster.

Related topics: Food Safety

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