The UK’s Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) published its first annual report on May 18. SOCA, the British equivalent of the FBI, was launched to target resources in fighting organized crime and was formed in 2006 following the merger of the National Criminal Intelligence Service, the National Crime Squad and other law enforcement bodies.
Although SOCA has more than 4,000 officers and an annual budget of £400 million (approximately $800 million), the agency has prosecuted an average of just 30 people a month in its first year. However, the report highlighted SOCA’s successes in combating drug trafficking. In the last year, SOCA has seized a fifth of Europe's cocaine supply, with a street value of £3 billion (approximately $6 billion), and has also seized 1.5 tonnes of heroin, 4.4 million ecstasy tablets, 260 kilos of opium and 1 million doses of LSD.
SOCA has identified an initial target list of more than 1,600 of Britain's “most wanted” criminals and SOCA is currently focusing on 160 individuals involved with money-laundering, drug trafficking, human smuggling and electronic fraud.