NCA wants more powers to snoop on Brits
NCA wants more powers to snoop on Brits

The NCA is seeking technical specialists with skills in software development, network engineering, data analysis, digital forensics and internet-based investigative work to join its National Cyber Crime Unit (NCCU).

The agency says: “Successful applicants will be part of wide-ranging efforts to pursue criminals, disrupt and dismantle their groups, and make the UK ever more resilient against cyber-crime – from the sexual exploitation of children, to modern slavery, to corruption and money laundering.”

NCCU director Jamie Saunders said: “We want to hear from people with the skills, adaptability and can-do mindset required to help keep the UK's public and businesses safer. This is fast-paced, challenging work impacting millions of people.”

An NCA spokesperson confirmed to “We're expanding across every part of our work. The types of crimes we are looking into are changing - so we need a workforce that reflects the capabilities of the people that we're dealing with.”

But the recruitment drive has sparked a debate about whether the ‘civil service' salaries on offer will be enough to lure the best security professionals.

Adrian Culley, a former Scotland Yard cyber crime detective and now a security consultant, told SC: “They're unlikely to attract the more experienced and highly skilled people because the skills are in demand globally, and unfortunately it's the age-old problem that the civil service pay structure, coupled with the police hierarchy, does not lend itself to recruiting the best from industry.”

The NCA's spokesperson admitted that: “We're a civil service organisation at the end of the day, so it's not something which is totally within our control.”

But he told us: “The people who come and work for this organisation don't necessarily just do it for the money. It is fair to say all of the roles that we advertise are well over-subscribed.

“We did a similar sort of thing six months to a year ago where we had people registering interest on a website, and the site was brought to its knees because of the number of people getting in touch.”

The recruitment drive is also complicated by the fact that, alongside its full-time paid staff, the NCA hires ‘Special Constables' from industry who act as part-time unpaid volunteers. It currently has more than 20 ‘Specials' on call, in addition to the work it does in partnership with security firms.

Culley commented: “I've always found this blend of professional police officers and voluntary slightly bizarre. If you went in for heart or brain surgery and the surgeon said ‘I'm a special surgeon', you'd be up off that table and out the door.

“I don't know if there's any answer to it. There's much very good work done by people who are Special Constables across the UK and across the Eurozone.”

The NCA spokesperson said: “Our Specials work elsewhere and we call on them when we need their specific capability, as opposed to somebody who is a staff officer and a full-time paid employee.”

The NCA is seeking a range of expertise and experience for its new full-time roles. Posts are nationwide, including London, Warrington and East Midlands, and go from entry to management level. Salaries range from £24,717 to over £52,000 depending on qualifications and experience.