Feeds

SOCA denies ditching crime boss hunt

Still seeking Mr Big

The essential guide to IT transformation

The UK's Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) has denied reports that it has abandoned a hunt for crime barons in favour of a broader sweep against 500 criminal organisations involving 15,000 suspected crooks.

The Times reported this morning that the agency had gone back to the drawing board after failing to prosecute more than a small number of high-profile targets. The paper reports that the hitlist was based on flawed intelligence, meaning that many of the supposed Mr Bigs were only mid-range crooks.

But a spokeswoman for SOCA said its original strategy of targeting high-impact criminals remains in place. Further accusations in the Times that morale at the agency is low and staff are leaving "in droves" are also wrong, she added. Leaving staff have largely retired, she said.

The agency has sent a letter to The Times taking issue with its article, disputing the suggestion that it had failed to bring any major criminals to book. The SOCA spokeswoman referred our questions about whether or not its budget has been slashed to the Home Office, which is yet to respond to our calls.

SOCA is due to publish its annual report later this week. The agency has already published its strategic priorities for 2007/08 which maintain its traditional focus on stamping down the trade in hard drugs and combating people smuggling. The fight against drugs gets 43 per cent of SOCA's budget while the fight against fraud - a category that includes cybercrime - gets just five per cent of the pie.

SOCA was established on 1 April 2006 following a merger of the National Crime Squad, the National Criminal Intelligence Service, the National Hi-Tech Crime Unit (NHTCU), the investigative arm of HM Revenue & Customs on serious drug trafficking, and the Immigration Service's unit dealing with people trafficking.

Its top priorities in fighting drug dealing and organised immigration crime have prompted criticism from sections of the security community, who reckon the fight against cybercrime is not getting the resources it deserves since the absorption of the NHTCU. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
GCHQ protesters stick it to British spooks ... by drinking urine
Activists told NOT to snap pics of staff at the concrete doughnut
Britain's housing crisis: What are we going to do about it?
Rent control: Better than bombs at destroying housing
What do you mean, I have to POST a PHYSICAL CHEQUE to get my gun licence?
Stop bitching about firearms fees - we need computerisation
Top beak: UK privacy law may be reconsidered because of social media
Rise of Twitter etc creates 'enormous challenges'
Redmond resists order to hand over overseas email
Court wanted peek as related to US investigation
Ex US cybersecurity czar guilty in child sex abuse website case
Health and Human Services IT security chief headed online to share vile images
We need less U.S. in our WWW – Euro digital chief Steelie Neelie
EC moves to shift status quo at Internet Governance Forum
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.