19:46Home Secretary Charles Clarke launching the Serious Organised Crime Agency SOCA on 2nd April 2006 warned the organised criminal underworld to "be afraid". The new organisation with a £4.5m budget for 2006/2007 is headed by former MI5 chief Steven Lander. It draws together investigators from Customs and Revenue, Police, and the Immigration Service, and has links with SAS intelligence. Tony Blair says it will use what he calls "21st Century powers" to combat organised drug crime, immigration crime, identity crime and money laundering.
If police blogger PC Copperfield is at all representative, the new agency faces sceptism among the foot soldiers in the war on crime. The agency's top priority is Class A drug crime according to its annual plan. One of the indicators against which its performance is measured is "trends in underlying harms caused by organised crime;". P C Copperfield's pessimistic assessment is "I predict that while SOCA may, from time to time, put large amounts of guns and drugs on the table, it will have no interest in or effect on muggings."