Prosecution Agencies

It is no surprise that crime is out of control, and so many cases collapse if subjected to expert defence scrutiny – whilst many junior constables are honest dedicated and hard-working, the recruitment process for senior officers in all UK law enforcement agencies is flawed; many have been promoted far beyond their level of competence.



The Armed Forces recruit and train “officer ranks” specifically, whereas promotion to all ranks in UK Police Forces starts from constables;


A particular disappointment has been the attempts to set up a national force to deal with major national and international crime.

 “SFO” – the Serious Fraud Office

Despite failing to obtain convictions in a number of high profile cases, the SFO is well organised and run. Investigating and prosecuting frauds conducted by or within otherwise lawful businesses is complex and expensive; in the United States there is more scope for “plea bargaining”, and it has been suggested that this needs to be introduced in the UK to deal with the problem that long and complex trials are expensive and unpredictable.

However the SFO is to be feared if it decides to devote scarce resources to you.



National Public Order Intelligence Unit: formed by Scotland Yard in 1999, became part of Acpo (a private company) in 2006, under umbrella of the National Domestic Extremism Unit (along with the National Extremism Tactical Co-Ordination Unit and the National Domestic Extremism Team). All moved back to the Yard in 2011 but report recommends should move to the new National Crime Agency.

Special Demonstration Squad: formed in the Metropolitan Police following the anti-Vietnam war demonstrations in 1968 but continued operating (with direct Government funding) until 2008 concentrating on “anti-war”, “anti-nuclear” and “Irish terrorism”.


Scams. There is [1] no national pro-active unit targetting fraudsters who operate, often from outside the UK, targeting vulnerable or greedy people via emails or telephone “marketing”.  Sometimes investigating serious fraud of this nature is left to local authority “Trading Standards” departments


NCIS  – The National Criminal Intelligence Service

“SOCA”- the Serious Organised Crime Agency

The Agency was formed on 1 April 2006 following a merger of the National Crime Squad, the National Criminal Intelligence Service (elements of which were incorporated into AVCIS), the National Hi-Tech Crime Unit (NHTCU), the investigative and intelligence sections of HM Revenue & Customs on serious drug trafficking, and the Immigration Service‘s responsibilities for organised immigration crime. The Assets Recovery Agency became part of SOCA in 2008. SOCA staff are not “constables” but can be granted similar powers of arrest. Unfortunately, SOCA seems to recruit mainly retired police officers, and suffers from the same lack of an “officer class” as do the territorial Police Forces. Many SOCA staff are in receipt of substantial pensions, and a new salary from SOCA; sometimes an agreement is made for them to be seconded back to continue to supervise ongoing investigations (at double pay)

Following the formation of the coalition government in 2010, the Home Office began consulting on proposals to merge its operations within a larger National Crime Agency.[2]


There are also Special national police forces, such as the British Transport Police. The Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 refers to these as ‘special police forces‘.


Proceeds of Crime

“ARA” – The Assets Recovery Agency became part of SOCA in 2008 – See “Confiscation” and SOCA


There are various police forces that cover regions of the UK, each governed by an independent Police Authority. Police authorities comprise elected members, independent members and magistrates. The Metropolitan Police Authority (London) is larger. The UK England and Wales legislation is the Police Act 1996.

Computer crime

Officers from the former National Hi-Tech Crime Unit (NHTCU) became SOCA’s e-crime unit. However, the remit of this unit is much narrower than that of the body it replaced. In particular, the NHTCU had established a confidentiality charter to encourage victims of computer crime to contact the police in confidence, because many corporate victims in particular do not report attacks due to fears of bad publicity. The loss of the confidentiality charter has been widely criticised.[17][18] although similar protection is now provided by the same Act of Parliament used to create SOCA. The Metropolitan Police is to help bridge the gap left by the disbandment of the NHTCU through an expansion of its Computer Unit and the formation of the Police Central e-crime Unit (PCeU), which will work closely with the new National Fraud Reporting Centre (NFRC) from 2009.[19]

Smuggling; Tax evasion;  VAT “Carousel” fraud

HM Revenue and Customs

Smuggling used to be controlled by HM Customs and Excise (“HMCE”) This was merged with HM Inland Revenue to form “HMRC” – HM Revenue and Customs.  HMCE enjoyed a reputation for incorruptablity (even with villains).  Now the HMRC has to battle international VAT fraud, as well as drug smuggling and the ordinary side of tax evasion. There seem to have been problems with inter-agency cooperation.

The UK Border Agency (UKBA) is the border control body of the United Kingdom (UK) government and an Executive Agency of the Home Office.[1] It was formed on 1 April 2008 by a merger of the Border and Immigration Agency (BIA), UKvisas and the Detection functions of HM Revenue and Customs. Its head office is 2 Marsham Street, London. The agency has come under formal criticism from the Parliamentary Ombudsman for consistently poor service, a backlog of hundreds of thousands of cases, and a large and increasing number of complaints. In the first nine months of 2009-10, 97% of investigations reported by the Ombudsman resulted in a complaint against the agency being upheld. The complainants were asylum, residence, or other immigration applicants.


Once the butt of jokes about oxymorons (“Australian cultural attachee”) the word “intelligence” has developed a meaning in it’s own right as “information about the enemy to which intelligent analysis has been applied”) The armed forces understand this.  Unfortunately the police do not have the leadership or resources to apply the required analysys to information, and struggle even to keep what they have confidential.

Although ‘MI6’ fell into official disuse years ago, many writers and journalists continue to use it to describe the Secret Intelligence Service “SIS”. MI6 deals with external threats. GCHQ Cheltenham is part of SIS

MI5 (the Security Service) is responsible for “protecting the United Kingdom against threats to national security” ie internal threats.

With the internationalisation of criminal organisations, whether financially motivated or political “terrorist” organisations, the need for inter-agency cooperation is obvious.

Rocket attack 20th September 2000


[1] Correct as at 31st December 2011. The proposition excludes secret operations, but in the opinion of the author would be much assisted by an Internet “911” “122” or “999” unit to which the public could report scam emails etc