Protection of witnesses under SOCPA
Protection of witnesses under SOCPA

The following Corporate Crime practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Protection of witnesses under SOCPA
  • Those requiring protection
  • Protection provider
  • What kind of arrangements can be made and how long will they stay in place?

Those requiring protection

Chapter 4 of Part 2 of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 (SOCPA 2005) makes provision for the protection of people involved in investigations and legal proceedings. This came into effect in April 2006 in order to combat major inconsistencies in the quality of service provided to protected witnesses by different police forces. Part 2 of SOCPA 2005 standardised provision to achieve a consistent service. The government’s longer term aim was to establish a national witness protection programme to increase public confidence in the criminal justice system by contributing to a reduction in the number of ineffective and unsuccessful trials.

This system was revised in December 2012 when a UK-wide protected persons service, regionally delivered by the police service but coordinated through the National Crime Agency (NCA), was introduced. The UK Protected Persons Service was designed to ensure that witnesses and other vulnerable individuals whose lives are at risk receive protection and support by:

  1. introducing national-quality standards,

  2. ensuring better co-ordination across existing fragmented services,

  3. promoting intelligence sharing between police forces, an

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