The legal basis of the establishment of the new SOCA - Serious Organised Crime Agency, which, despite the media hype, is not the "British FBI", as it is not tasked with anti-terrorism or counter-espionage duties, is set out in the Serious Organised Crime and Police Bill, which also includes Even More Powers For The Police.
However, the spin surrounding the economic justification for the creation of SOCA throws up a rather large question.
How much money does Serious and Organised Crime cost the UK each year ?
Prior to today, the guesstimate finger in the air figure was £40 billion a year
This £40 billion a year figure was also uttered by Sir Stephen Lander, the Chair of SOCA, formerly the Director General of MI5, the Security Service, during his interview last Sunday with Jonathan Dimbleby.
However today's Home Office press release announcing the new legislation quites Home Secretary David Blunkett as saying:
"organised crime gangs are costing this country at least £20 billion a year and must be stopped."
Who stole the other £20 billion ?
How was either figure calculated, by whom, and using what assumptions ?
Even the Home Office's guesstimates for the alleged cost of part of their ID Card scheme was heavily criticised by the Home Affairs Committee for not being accurate to within the nearest £2 billion.
£2 billion here, £20 billion there, pretty soon this will add up to serious money.