Computer Crime Research Center


Cybercops on the conference

Date: April 24, 2006
Source: The Register
By: John Leyden

The start of the Infosec conference tomorrow will witness one of the first public appearances of the new Serious and Organised Crime Agency (SOCA). Dubbed the UK's FBI by Britain's tabloids, SOCA will tackle drug trafficking, immigration crime, money laundering and identity fraud by developing intelligence on organised crime and pursuing key suspects while disrupting criminal activity.

The agency will bring together more than 4,000 police, customs and immigration experts to create Britain's first non-police law-enforcement authority. Officers from the National High Tech Crime Unit (NHTCU) joined these ranks when the agency launched earlier this month. The Home Office has said that drug and people trafficking, fraud, and identity theft will be among SOCA's top priorities.

Despite its assigned role as a leading agency in fighting identity theft, critics are questioning how much of SOCA's resources will put into the fight against cybercrime. Spyblog, for example, said the launch of the agency signals a very low priority for computer crime.

Like any police agency in the UK, SOCA is ultimately accountable to the public, whose needs and concerns help shape its priorities. Divisional bosses from Greater Manchester Police or the Metropolitan Police, for example, regularly meet the general public. The frequent result of these meetings is that increased resources are put into combating burglaries or antisocial behavior, for example, in particular areas. Because resources are finite, this has the undesirable effect of reducing the number of officers assigned to combat other problems.
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