Serious Organised Crime Agency
The Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) is a UK national law enforcement agency that tackles "serious organised crime that affects the UK and our citizens. This includes Class A drugs, people smuggling and human trafficking, major gun crime, fraud, computer crime and money laundering".
The Independent reported in June 2013 that "The Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca) knew six years ago that law firms, telecoms giants and insurance were hiring private investigators to break the law and further their commercial interests, the report reveals, yet the agency did next to nothing to disrupt the unlawful trade." A SOCA spokesman told the paper: “Soca produced a confidential report in 2008 on the issue of licensing the private investigation industry. This report remains confidential and Soca does not comment on leaked documents or specific criminal investigations. Information is shared with other partners as required.”
The report stated that there was an: “abundance of law-enforcement expertise either through corrupt contacts or from a previous career in law enforcement”, and they were “attempting to discover location of witnesses under police protection to intimidate them”.
A list of 98 company and individual clients who SOCA had identified as part of their inquiry into private investigators and the ‘blagging’ of personal information, was passed by the agency to the Information Commissioner's Office on 28 August 2013.
In July 2010 the UK coalition government outlined proposals to reform the police service. Included within the proposals was the abolishment of SOCA, replacing it with a new national crime-fighting agency, the National Crime Agency.
- Correspondence between the Home Affairs Select Committee and SOCA re Private Investigators, 2 July 2013.
- Tom Harper, Name firms accused of hacking within 14 days, MPs tell police, Independent, 2 July 2013.
- Tom Harper, The aftermath of Leveson inquiry: Soca chief is accused of misleading MPs over hacking, The Independent, 7 July 2013.
- Nick Hopkins, UK police accused of supplying target information for military 'kill list', The Guardian, 17 July 2013.
- Tom Harper, MPs told not to name firms hiring corrupt investigators, Independent, 19 July 2013.
- Tom Harper, List of 100 hacking firms given to MPs is ‘the tip of the iceberg’, The Independent, 23 July 2013.
- Tom Harper, Exclusive: Blue-chip dirty tricks 'bigger than phone hacking', Independent, 24 July 2013.
- Andrew Grice, MPs back calls for Soca to name blue-chip hackers, The Independent, 26 July 2013.
- Jack Doyle and James Slack, Big banks paid corrupt detectives to spy, hack and steal personal data in run-up to the financial crash, Mail Online, 26 July 2013.
- Peter Jukes & Mark Conrad, Unredacted: SOCA's confidential report on private detectives, Exaro News, 29 July 2013.
- Tom Harper, Soca will check if directors have links to private investigators, Independent, 8 September 2013.
- Tom Harper, Soca’s seven-year dither over links to rogue PIs would impede justice, The Independent, 10 September 2013.
- 'About SOCA', SOCA Website.
- 'Q&A: The Serious Organised Crime Agency', The Guardian, 4 April 2006.
- Tom Harper, The other hacking scandal: Suppressed report reveals that law firms, telecoms giants and insurance companies routinely hire criminals to steal rivals' information, The Independent, 22 June 2013.
- Tom Harper, Exclusive: Met supergrass scandal - corrupt private investigators infiltrate witness-protection programme, The Independent 25 June 2013.
- ICO launches investigation into rogue private investigator clients, Information Commissioner's Office, 3 September 2013.
- 'Police reform proposals outlined', BBC, 26 July 2010.
- Letter from Keith Bristow, Director General, National Crime Agency, to the Chair of the Committee, 12 July 2013, Home Affairs Select Committee, House of Commons, accessed 28 July 2013.