Harfield, Clive, 2006, SOCA: a paradigm shift in British policing, The British Journal of Criminology, 46, 743-761.
Scheduled to become operational in April 2006 and with its senior staff already appointed (July 2005), the new Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA)—a key element of the current police reform programme—is a significant departure from the traditional policing infrastructure in the United Kingdom. As such, its creation begs a number of questions about priority setting and accountability. Government assertions that it is not a police force seem to run counter both to its function and some aspects of its legislative design and, as such, hint at a paradigm shift. Divining Government intention from official sources and locating this innovation within the context of current theoretical models, this paper documents one of the most significant changes in British policing, identifies the potential for confused perceptions about SOCA and highlights the possible implications of its establishment.