Posts Tagged ‘Serious Organised Crime Agency’

The National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) was created in 2007 and at that time it took on responsibility for many areas of national policing support services.

However, the current Home Secretary Theresa May has recently announced that the NPIA would be dissolved, its portfolio split up and handed over to others.  She has now announced that the Central Witness Bureau, Crime Operational Support Unit, the National Missing Persons’ Bureau, Serious Crime Analysis Section and the Specialist Operations Centre would transfer to the Serious and Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) from the beginning of April.  However, she has not made clear yet whether when SOCA morphs into the National Crime Agency (NCA)whether it will accept responsibility for these areas as well as taking on the Proceeds of Crime Centre in 2013.

The UK's new Home Secretary, Theresa May, givi...

The UK's new Home Secretary, Theresa May, giving speech to Home Office staff. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

She also stated that “Work is continuing on the development of the police professional body and the new police ICT company.”

When it has been decided what the new policing professional body is, Ms May will confirm that the NPIA functions including learning and development, uniformed operational support and the National College of Police Leadership will transfer to it.

The Home Office will take over the NPIA’s Police Science and Forensics services, policy for special constables, the Automotive Equipment Section and management of the Airwave radio system to the Home Office.

All moves can be expected in autumn this year and we can look forward to new logos, launch parties and designer freebies and of course a much improved and cost efficient service.  I hope I’m not sounding too cynical but in 30 years, I’ve seen it happen often.

Will your detective be just as cynical as I may sound and how are the changes likely to affect the way they work?

If you’re not sure, you can either wait it out, ignore it altogether or sign up for the next Crime Fiction – Making it Real Weekend this autumn by dropping a line to me at 


Secure your place NOW on the November 2012 Crime Fiction – Making it Real, weekend workshop designed for writers interested in learning more about the police, their procedures and practices.  There will be time to immerse yourselves in case studies and to bring along your very own questions to be answered.  Check out the Autumn 2012 Workshop page for more details.

For more information, contact me via e-mail at  –

It seemed a long time coming but when it did finally arrive, it flew.

From a personal point of view, the weekend far exceeded my expectations.  To top it all, I met a great bunch of people who were attentive, keen to learn and better still, keen to share their knowledge and help their peers.

What I’m talking about is the very first Crime Fiction – Making it Real weekend workshop, held at the West Yorkshire Police Training and Development Centre.

Delegates came to Wakefield from as far away as Avon and Somerset, Devon, Essex, the big city – London and Northumbria as well as places closer to the venue.

But don’t take my word for how good it was, read some of the feedback received –

Barbara  – Just wanted to say how much I enjoyed the course.

I wanted a general overview of the police and procedures which I think you covered very well. Even if you don’t use a lot of it in the writing, it is useful background to get an idea of how a whole police station would operate. The stuff on the Major incident teams and crime scenes etc was very useful. I guess writers are also interested in dialogue so discussing interviews etc was also helpful.  I also found the stuff on who certifies death, the role of the coroner etc helpful.  The stuff on serious criminal, like rapists was very good as was the discussion of forensic profilers.  t skimmed through the CD and it will be an excellent resource for us.

We were quite a demanding audience and you handled the questions very well. I really did enjoy it. A big part as well is the other attendees and I got a lot out of talking to the others in break times.

Caroline  – Thanks for a terrific course and for your individual attention with my plot, really appreciated. A great weekend and I am now energised and armed to complete the book hopefully with my cop facts right.

CJ – I wanted to thank you for a very stimulating and informative weekend. I learnt a lot and especially valued having my specific questions all dealt with. Overall, it was a fun weekend and a great experience and I will recommend it to other crime writers.  I could tell you put a lot into organising everything for us and it paid off big time.

Gareth – I’d like to thanks you so much for an amazing weekend.  I felt so fortunate to meet you and so many wonderful people.  The course was very informative.  The main strength of the course was you.  You were clearly knowledgeable and presented the information in a friendly, easy to understand way, but, above all, your great sense of humour made it so much fun.

Ian – It was a great course thanks,

Jan – It was brilliant.  I’ve done over 20 OU courses and about 13 summer schools – and this has to be up there with the best of them.  I really enjoyed the whole thing.

It was exactly what I needed to convince myself that non-police personnel stand a chance of writing crime – both from the point of view of the information received (and thank you so much for the DVD, it’s excellent) and from being able to meet with published authors and non-published authors in a friendly and supportive atmosphere.  I thought it did exactly what it said on the tin – it explained the structure and routines and left me in a much better position to track down my own information, and to know what level of information I need to include.

It was obvious so much thought had gone into the whole weekend.  I also felt the tone was exactly right.  Serious subjects, but tackled in an intelligent and light-hearted way, which was just the right balance for me.  I’d be back like a shot for further courses

Linda  – Just a quick line to say how much I enjoyed and appreciated this weekend. I think you covered every question I thought I might ask and covered a good many I didn’t even know I needed to ask! You surpassed all my expectations of what might be got out of the sessions, and I think I will be referring back to the information on the DVD for a long time to come.

Lesley – Firstly thanks for the workshop, you obviously did a lot of hard work to produce it.  I thoroughly enjoyed the weekend. I got a lot from it and learnt things I didn’t know. In fact I have created a new main character for my next book from those who are co-opted onto the enquiry (more later). T he DVD of information is an excellent resource.  Weekends like this are as much about talking to other people during the breaks and in the evening as about the workshop itself and we had plenty of time for that.

Maggie – You often don’t realise what you want to know until you know it and it provokes further questioning! I was open to consuming new knowledge that I could utilise along the way within my writing. I think I gained a new perspective through the course.  At the time I felt that being informed about the different uniforms was not necessary – in hindsight I feel that it was totally in context with the rest of the content once I had done the two days. It helps that you can take notes of thought provoking ideas rather than have to scribble everything that is said down and miss the overall aim/ambience.  During the course it was thought provoking and I am sure many of us have come away with some ideas for plot lines.  All in all I would definitely recommend this course to anyone considering it. Meeting the variety of people that were there was also interesting, some of us will definitely stay in touch and thus we are able to widen our network of contacts/writers/new friends.  10/10!

Paul – I enjoyed the weekend immensely and it was tremendous value for money. The extensive CD alone was worth the workshop fee and it contains everything the crime writer could wish for.  I think you provided a very good ‘walk through’ of what actual happens at the scene of a major crime and the different roles etc.  In conclusion it was an excellent experience

Sheila – I got loads from the course.  Lots of little gems will stay in my mind for further use.  I love anecdotes from people’s working lives, details that you will never get from a manual such as the spitting prisoner in a cage in a van.  The role play on tracing a wanted bod taught me how to think investigation.

Tom – I found the weekend most useful and the content and materials we subsequently received will prove valuable reference sources for crime writing. I got all the factual material I needed – and more. In fact I would suggest you were over-generous in how much info you released.

Wanda – I just want to say how much I enjoyed the weekend, and I certainly learnt a great deal. I am also delighted with the CD. You have been very generous with your knowledge, time and information and I am sure that I will now have a much better idea on how to proceed with my crime novel.

Anyone interested in signing up for the second workshop, drop me a line at

For those of you not sure of what you missed, take a look at the original post for the Crime Fiction – Making it Real workshop.

It’s unlikely: not impossible but you do have to ask yourself, what were they doing there?

If the answer is “chasing bad guys” then you may have got it wrong.  The reason being is that INTERPOL doesn’t have an operational arm.  It merely facilitates communication and cooperation between law enforcement officers from one country with their counterpart in another.  Don’t get me wrong if you think I am saying that it doesn’t do much.


It does provide an officer with information held in their databases such as information about stolen works of art or suspected terrorists but not every officer in the UK has access to these databases.

In fact, only a handful do and they are based in the National Central Bureau within the Serious and Organised Crime Agency (SOCA).

If you think your local cop can just hop on a plane to a foreign land, bypassing Interpol to deal with some drug lord – think again.  There are protocols to go through and restrictions on what can and can’t be done.

If you need a helping hand, just get in touch.

Don’t forget to book your place on the Crime Fiction – Making it Real weekend workshop March 2012


Travellers at UK border
Do you want your villains to travel out or back into the UK?  If so, and they are already suspected of committing or are already wanted for committing crime, they may not make it out of the country let alone back.  The same would apply to persons from abroad entering the UK if there is a European Arrest Warrant in existence for them or they are wanted by another country whose legislation is recognised in the UK.  Read the below Border Agency press release for more information.
Ten thousand wanted criminals have been arrested at the border as a result of e-Borders, an advance passenger screening programme.

e-Borders is a system by which air carriers and operators of vessels submit passenger and crew details electronically prior to travel from and to the UK.

There are now an average of 52 arrests per week at ports and airports across the country for a range of crimes, immigration and customs offences as a result of the screening system which was introduced in 2005.

381 million passengers have been processed through the system since 2005, which has resulted in over 10,000 arrests for murder and rape, seizures of Class A drugs, and the refusal of entry to the UK for immigration offenders and overstayers.

Immigration Minister Damian Green said: ‘The government is doing more than ever before to protect the UK’s border. By checking passenger and crew information before, travel law enforcement agencies can apprehend those trying to evade justice.

‘From 2013 the new dedicated Border Policing Command, part of the National Crime Agency, will further strengthen security at the border, providing leadership and coordination based on a single national threat assessment and strategy.’

It works by 122 carriers on over 3,000 routes providing passenger data to e-Borders. The UK’s National Border Targeting Centre screens the passenger and crew data and generates alerts as a result of intelligence and targeting.

The suspects wanted by the UK Border Agency, police, the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) and HM Revenue & Customs can then be apprehended before entering or departing the country.

Courtesy of the Home Office 31 Oct 2011

The Serious Organised Crime Agency has been helping to deliver a grievous blow against criminals looking to make a living within the pub and club industry.

The organisation has been working alongside the Security Industry Authority and police forces to target door staff falling short of expectations.

During the first week-long investigation in Bristol, a series of night-time inspections were carried out – closely followed by visits to venue owners, security companies and their staff.

SOCA Ventures Into Night Time Economy
 And Andy Baker, SOCA Deputy Director, was delighted at the results, which netted a number of door supervisors for failing to disclose criminal convictions.

Mr Baker said: “The pub and club scene is a very attractive market for organised criminals, particularly those looking to direct the supply of drugs.

“We know that criminal groups actively seek out opportunities to control the security around venues. This is why SOCA and its partners have been working with the ones servicing Bristol’s vibrant nightlife and the firms that provide security staff.

“This is not about penalising those who are coming up short. It’s about closing off criminal opportunities before they can be exploited. We want to send the message that using properly licensed staff helps prevent criminals from infiltrating the security industry, creates a safer environment for the public to enjoy themselves and is good for legitimate business.”

Mr Baker said 45 door supervisors checked were found to be breaking licence conditions. Of these, three of these had failed to notify the SIA of criminal convictions, which can result in revocation of a licence and prosecution.

He added: “We have gained useful intelligence on criminal activity from both the security industry and the public during this exercise. The work does not stop here and we are now looking at carrying out similar operations in other major cities.”

Dave Humphries, SIA Director of Compliance, Intelligence and Communication, said: “These results show some door staff underestimate the seriousness of breaching licence conditions. This is a criminal offence.” – Tue, 04 October 2011Courtesy of: CLIFF CASWELL – POLICE ORACLE

Are you using SOCA in part of your novel?  If so, do you know what their remit is, what they will and won’t deal with.  The above is an example what they were not set up do deal with (such a low-level crime in their early day’s eyes).  Now that they are about to be disbanded, are they looking to make themselves a better image and reputation or is this the area the new National Crime Agency will be moving into?