[holding answer 31 January 2007]: The Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) has been established to reduce the harm caused to the UK by serious organised crime. Its priorities, set by the Home Secretary, are Class A drugs trafficking and organised immigration crime, but it also devotes effort to other organised crime threats, including fraud against individuals and the private sector, hi-tech crime, counterfeiting, the use of firearms and serious robbery.
In terms of the National Intelligence Model (NIM), SOCA will concentrate its efforts at Level 3 criminality (usually operating on a national and international scale). However, to be effective in reducing harm, it will need to collaborate with and support the efforts of other agencies, including police forces.
SOCA supports police forces operationally in a variety of ways that bear on Level 2 criminality. For example, it provides expert advice and resources in cases of kidnap and extortion, sensitive technical support and a ‘flagging’ service that ensures that forces do not compromise one another's operations.
Comments made by the chair or director general of the Serious Organised Crime Agency around the time of its launch last year relate to matters within their operational discretion. However, the Government strongly support the work that the agency is doing to counter the drug threat with international partners in Columbia and elsewhere.
Since the inception of SOCA, 72 directly employed staff have left the organisation, equating to an annual turnover rate in the order of 2.4 per cent. Of these 54 resigned to take up employment elsewhere. SOCA do not keep records on whether leaving staff have rejoined the agency they were employed with before SOCA.