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Serious and Organised Crime Agency: Manpower

Volume 461: debated on Thursday 21 June 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) police officers and (b) police support staff have been reassigned to the Serious and Organised Crime Agency since its creation, broken down by the region and branch from which they were reassigned. (141919)

Prior to the launch of SOCA, police officers who were seconded into National Crime Squad (NCS) and National Criminal Intelligence Service (NCIS) were given the opportunity to become directly employed by the NCS. Most of the police officers took this opportunity. On 1 April 2006 1,104 police officers and 760 non-police staff transferred into SOCA from National Crime Squad as permanent staff. A further 72 police officers retained their secondment status on transfer. Seconded police officers will return to their home force on completion of their period of secondment. No police officers or support staff transferred onto SOCA’s staff directly from a police force. Since April 2006 no police officers have been reassigned to SOCA.

SOCA’s functions are set out in the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005. They are to prevent and detect serious organised crime, to contribute to its reduction in other ways and the mitigation of its consequences. All SOCA officers in the UK and overseas are deployed in support of these functions.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) police officers and (b) support staff (i) the Sussex branch and (ii) other UK operational regions of the Serious and Organised Crime Agency has at its disposal. (141920)

As reported in SOCA’s 2006-07 annual report, at the year end actual employment was at approximately 4,400 full-time equivalent staff. These represented a mix of staff from precursor agencies (NCIS, NCS, IND and HMRC), Government Departments, secondees and some new recruits.

SOCA’s functions are set out in the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005. They are to prevent and detect serious organised crime, to contribute to its reduction in other ways and the mitigation of its consequences. All SOCA officers in the UK and overseas are deployed in support of these functions.

SOCA is not a police force. Its officers may be designated by the Director General with the powers of a Constable and/or Immigration Officer and/or Customs Officer dependent on operational need and on the basis of the capability, suitability and training of the individual officer. On 1 April 2006, 1,821 SOCA Officers were designated with the power of arrest.