Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005

Publication Date:January 01, 2005
 
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Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005

2005 CHAPTER 15

An Act to provide for the establishment and functions of the Serious Organised Crime Agency; to make provision about investigations, prosecutions, offenders and witnesses in criminal proceedings and the protection of persons involved in investigations or proceedings; to provide for the implementation of certain international obligations relating to criminal matters; to amend the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002; to make further provision for combatting crime and disorder, including new provision about powers of arrest and search warrants and about parental compensation orders; to make further provision about the police and policing and persons supporting the police; to make provision for protecting certain organisations from interference with their activities; to make provision about criminal records; to provide for the Private Security Industry Act 2001 to extend to Scotland; and for connected purposes.

[7th April 2005]

B e it enacted by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

1 The Serious Organised Crime Agency

Part 1

The Serious Organised Crime Agency

Chapter 1

SOCA: establishment and activities

Establishment of SOCA

Establishment of SOCA

S-1 Establishment of Serious Organised Crime Agency

1 Establishment of Serious Organised Crime Agency

(1) There shall be a body corporate to be known as the Serious Organised Crime Agency (‘SOCA’).

(2) Schedule 1 makes provision about the constitution, members and staff of SOCA and other matters relating to it.

(3) Each of the following bodies shall cease to exist on such date as the Secretary of State appoints by order—

(a) the National Criminal Intelligence Service and its Service Authority, and

(b) the National Crime Squad and its Service Authority.

Functions

Functions

S-2 Functions of SOCA as to serious organised crime

2 Functions of SOCA as to serious organised crime

(1) SOCA has the functions of—

(a) preventing and detecting serious organised crime, and

(b) contributing to the reduction of such crime in other ways and to the mitigation of its consequences.

(2) SOCA's functions under subsection (1) are exercisable subject to subsections (3) to (5) (but subsection (3) does not apply to Scotland).

(3) If, in exercising its function under subsection (1)(a), SOCA becomes aware of conduct appearing to SOCA to involve serious or complex fraud, SOCA may thereafter exercise that function in relation to the fraud in question only—

(a) with the agreement of the Director, or an authorised officer of the Serious Fraud Office, or

(b) if the Serious Fraud Office declines to act in relation to it.

(4) If, in exercising its function under subsection (1)(a), SOCA becomes aware of conduct appearing to SOCA to involve revenue fraud SOCA may thereafter exercise that function in relation to the fraud in question only with the agreement of the Commissioners.

(5) Before exercising its function under subsection (1)(b) in any way in relation to revenue fraud, SOCA must consult the Commissioners.

(6) The issue of whether SOCA's function under subsection (1)(a) continued to be exercisable in any circumstances within subsection (3) or (4) may not be raised in any criminal proceedings.

(7) In this section ‘revenue fraud’ includes fraud relating to taxes, duties and national insurance contributions.

(8) In this Chapter ‘the Commissioners’ means the Commissioners for Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs.

S-3 Functions of SOCA as to information relating to crime

3 Functions of SOCA as to information relating to crime

(1) SOCA has the function of gathering, storing, analysing and disseminating information relevant to—

(a) the prevention, detection, investigation or prosecution of offences, or

(b) the reduction of crime in other ways or the mitigation of its consequences.

(2) SOCA may disseminate such information to—

(a) police forces within subsection (3),

(b) special police forces,

(c) law enforcement agencies, or

(d) such other persons as it considers appropriate in connection with any of the matters mentioned in subsection (1)(a) or (b).

(3) The police forces within this subsection are—

(a) police forces in the United Kingdom, and

(b) the States of Jersey Police Force, the salaried police force of the Island of Guernsey and the Isle of Man Constabulary.

(4) In this section ‘law enforcement agency’ means—

(a) the Commissioners or any other government department,

(b) the Scottish Administration,

(c) any other person who is charged with the duty of investigating offences or charging offenders, or

(d) any other person who is engaged outside the United Kingdom in the carrying on of activities similar to any carried on by SOCA or a police force.

(5) In this Chapter ‘special police force’ means—

(a) the Ministry of Defence Police,

(b) the British Transport Police Force,

(c) the Civil Nuclear Constabulary, or

(d) the Scottish Drug Enforcement Agency.

S-4 Exercise of functions: general considerations

4 Exercise of functions: general considerations

(1) In exercising its functions SOCA must have regard to the matters mentioned in subsection (2).

(2) The matters are—

(a) SOCA's current annual plan under section 6 together with any priorities determined by SOCA under that section that are specified in the plan,

(b) any current strategic priorities determined by the Secretary of State under section 9, and

(c) any current performance targets established by SOCA.

(3) In exercising any function to which a code of practice under section 10 relates, SOCA must have regard to the code.

General powers

General powers

S-5 SOCA's general powers

5 SOCA's general powers

(1) SOCA has the general powers conferred by this section.

(2) SOCA may—

(a) institute criminal proceedings in England and Wales or Northern Ireland;

(b) at the request of the chief officer of a police force within section 3(3) or of a special police force, act in support of any activities of that force;

(c) at the request of any law enforcement agency, act in support of any activities of that agency;

(d) enter into other arrangements for co-operating with bodies or persons (in the United Kingdom or elsewhere) which it considers appropriate in connection with the exercise of any of SOCA's functions under section 2 or 3 or any activities within subsection (3).

(3) Despite the references to serious organised crime in section 2(1), SOCA may carry on activities in relation to other crime if they are carried on for the purposes of any of the functions conferred on SOCA by section 2 or 3.

(4) Subsection (3) does not affect the generality of section 3(1).

(5) SOCA may furnish such assistance as it considers appropriate in response to requests made by any government or other body exercising functions of a public nature in any country or territory outside the United Kingdom.

(6) Subsection (5) does not apply to any request for assistance which—

(a) could be made under section 13 of the Crime (International Co-operation) Act 2003 (c. 32) (requests by overseas authorities to obtain evidence), and

(b) is not a request in relation to which SOCA has functions under that section by virtue of an order under section 27(2) of that Act.

(7) In this section ‘law enforcement agency’ has the meaning given by section 3(4).

Annual plans and reports

Annual plans and reports

S-6 Annual plans

6 Annual plans

(1) Before the beginning of each financial year SOCA must issue a plan setting out how SOCA intends to exercise its functions during that year (‘the annual plan’).

(2) The annual plan must (in particular) set out how SOCA intends to exercise its functions in Scotland and in Northern Ireland.

(3) The annual plan must also include a statement of—

(a) any priorities which SOCA has determined for that year

(b) any current strategic priorities determined by the Secretary of State under section 9,

(c) any current performance targets established by SOCA, and

(d) the financial resources that are expected to be available to SOCA for that year.

(4) Any priorities within subsection (3)(a) may relate—

(a) to matters to which strategic priorities determined under section 9 also relate, or

(b) to other matters,

but in any event must be so framed as to be consistent with strategic priorities determined under that section.

(5) The annual plan must state, in relation to each priority within subsection (3)(a) or (b), how SOCA intends to give effect to that priority.

(6) SOCA must arrange for the annual plan to be published in such manner as it considers appropriate.

(7) SOCA must send a copy of the annual plan to—

(a) the Secretary of State,

(b) the Scottish Ministers,

(c) the Commissioners,

(d) each police authority for an area in Great Britain, each joint police board and the Northern Ireland Policing Board,

(e) the chief officer of each police force in the United Kingdom, and

(f) such other persons as SOCA considers appropriate.

(8) In subsection (7)(d) the reference to a police authority for an area in Great Britain does not include a constituent authority in an amalgamation scheme approved under section...

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