Published Sunday, 06 October 2013
The Alliance minister claimed that organised criminals may be free to exploit gaps in the security system, while efforts to crack down on child exploitation, cyber crime and drugs trafficking will be hindered, because the new National Crime Agency isn't in place here.
It comes as the £450m, 5,000-strong NCA launched in Britain on Sunday.
Mr Ford said NI is now being viewed as the UK's poor cousin when it comes to dealing with serious organised crime, adding: "We are left in a second class position."
The new body encompasses the work of the Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca), Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (Ceop), and the national cyber crime unit - and is charged with tackling major crime operating over local, national and international borders.
It was blocked in NI after Sinn Féin and the SDLP raised concerns over the creation of a parallel police force unaccountable to the Northern Ireland Policing Board.
Alastair McDonnell, SDLP, said: "There are so many issues contained within the NCA and getting accountability right and remembering the past and what happened in the past, in terms of the inference with ordinary police in Northern Ireland.
"We've got to get that right for all of our citizens and I believe that with good will, with flexibility, then we can work our way through this, but I cannot say to you with hand on heart at this moment in time that we will achieve that."
However, Mr Ford said he has not given up hope of reaching a consensus.
The Justice Minister continued: "My big fear is that we send out the wrong message that we are not fighting organised crime as effectively as other parts of the UK and we lose the UK national and international connections that NCA will have.
"I have been assured that NCA will do what they can to help Northern Ireland but, inevitably when they don't have the full statutory powers here to deal with organised crime they simply won't be in a position to deal with things as well as the police would wish them to be.
"We are missing out on the asset recovery issues. In other areas we are doing our best to fill the gap but it is placing additional strain on the PSNI. That is the challenge."
© UTV News