SOCA cyber crime cops arrest 22 in three years

keyboard handcuffs

Investigations by the Serious Organised Crime Agency's (SOCA) E-Crime unit have lead to just 22 prosecutions and 21 convictions.

The information came to light in a parliamentary question posed to Home Secretary Alan Johnson. While the numbers may not seem high, Johnson claimed prosecutions aren't the only action the unit takes.

"Prosecution is however only one of a number of tools available to help achieve harm reduction in line with the Home Secretary's priorities in this area," Johnson told parliament.

He said the E-Crime Unit also directs its resources to develop new intervention methods, as well as trying to disrupt criminal activity. "The aim is not just to pursue the criminals involved, many of whom operate beyond the reach of our courts, but also provide long-term solutions for harm reduction on the internet," he said.

Johnson also mentioned the "significant operational successes" the SOCA unit had taking on the DarkMarket fraud system and investigating an attempted theft at Sumitomo Bank.

SOCA has been the subject of controversy regarding cyber crime after the National Hi-Tech Crime Unit was folded into it, leaving many wondering if the government was taking e-crime seriously enough. The Home Office and Metropolitan Police have since teamed up to create a dedicated e-crime unit.

During the Commons discussion, the government also confirmed it was working to ratify the Council of Europe Cybercrime Convention. It had planned to do so by the end of the year, but legal and administrative discussions have delayed the process, it said.