British FBI-style agency launched

Sunday, April 9, 2006

Prime Minister Tony Blair launched a new crime-fighting agency to deal with “brutal and sophisticated” crimes by organised gangs. The agency’s mandate and powers have been compared to that of the United States’ FBI.

The Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA), has approximately 4,200 “law enforcement officers”, some of whom are ex-spies, and will use their £400m annual budget to fight counterfeiting, fraud, drug and people-trafficking.

The agency was created out of the National Crime Squad, the National Criminal Intelligence Service and investigative staff from the Immigration Service. SOCA is chaired by ex-MI5 chief Sir Stephen Lander.

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