National Crime Agency – same old, same old?
If you, like me, tried to access SOCA's website (www.soca.gov.uk) to undertake a compare and contrast exercise with the website of the NCA, you would have found yourself directed seamlessly to www.nationalcrimeagency.gov.uk.
This lends weight to Labour's assertions that this was simply a "rebranding exercise".
What little remains of SOCA's website states that SOCA was the "national police unit responsible for pro-active operations against serious and organised crime".
NCA's website states that the NCA has been created "to lead the UK's fight to cut serious and organised crime".
And the difference is? Well, it is said that the NCA will have a more joined up approach than previously and, unlike SOCA whose operations were covert, will have greater visibility than SOCA in that NCA officers will be in clothing bearing the NCA logo when on operations.
Whether the Mr Bigs will be any more deterred by the NCA rather than its discredited predecessor only time will tell.
What will be interesting to see is how kindly the Chief Constables of the 400 or so local police constabularies take to being directed by the NCA as to how to tackle problems on their patch.
But let's not diss this new agency completely, at least, not yet. If it lives up to its own hype, we will have a national agency that can really tackle criminal gangs, fight fraud and cyber crime and protect children and young people from sexual abuse and exploitation and who wouldn't want that?