Serious Organised Crime Agency

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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".[1]

Creation

SOCA was formed on 1 April 2006, merging the National Criminal Intelligence Service (NCIS) and the National Crime Squad (NCS) into a single body.[2]

Project Riverside

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.”[3]

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”.[4]

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.[5]

Abolition

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.[6]

SOCA is due to be replaced by the National Crime Agency on 7 October 1913.[7]

People

Chair

Directors-General

External resources

Notes

  1. 'About SOCA', SOCA Website.
  2. 'Q&A: The Serious Organised Crime Agency', The Guardian, 4 April 2006.
  3. 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.
  4. Tom Harper, Exclusive: Met supergrass scandal - corrupt private investigators infiltrate witness-protection programme, The Independent 25 June 2013.
  5. ICO launches investigation into rogue private investigator clients, Information Commissioner's Office, 3 September 2013.
  6. 'Police reform proposals outlined', BBC, 26 July 2010.
  7. 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.