SOCA Takes on Cyber Crime

Silicon reports today that drug trafficking, organised immigration crime, money laundering and identity fraud will be the main targets of the new Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA), dubbed the UK's FBI.

SOCA has been formed by combining the National Crime Squad, the National Criminal Intelligence Service, and experts from HM Revenue and Customs and the UK Immigration Service.

The National Hi-Tech Crime Unit, which previously dealt with internet crime in the UK, has also been rolled into SOCA.

Home Secretary Charles Clarke said in a statement: "I am today sending the organised criminal underworld a clear message: be afraid. The Serious Organised Crime Agency marks a step change in our efforts to stay ahead of the game in the fight against serious organised crime."

Clarke said the new agency will "exploit hi-tech 21st century technology and uncover the new wave of crime bosses".

The new agency is chaired by former MI5 director general Sir Stephen Lander, and will have a budget of more than £400m and a staff of around 4,200.

According to SOCA'a annual plan, around 40 per cent of its efforts will go on drugs trafficking; 25 per cent on organised immigration crime; and 10 per cent on individual and private sector fraud including identity fraud and "forms of e-fraud exploiting the use of the internet by banks and commerce".

The cost of organised crime to the UK is put at around £20bn a year – more than £300 for every person in the country.