The Specialist Operations Centre (SOC) provides front line policing with information, advice and support in relation to surveillance law, major crime and vulnerable and intimidated witnesses. Made up of four teams, the SOC comprises a mixture of NCA and police officers and provides a single point of contact for police forces and law enforcement agencies.
The Specialist Research Team utilises a wide-ranging knowledge of policies, good practice, ACPO guidance, relevant law enforcement and government documentation to deliver consistent, up-to-date information to assist forces in their decision making.
Example enquiry: Is there any guidance, best practice or known cases where sleepwalking has been used as a defence in court.
The Witness Intermediary Team provides support to police officers and prosecutors in the use of Registered Intermediaries and offers advice on interview strategies for vulnerable and intimidated witnesses. The dedicated team matches Registered Intermediaries to the needs of vulnerable victims and witnesses in order to achieve best evidence.
The Witness Intermediary Team is managed by the National Vulnerable Witness Adviser. The National Vulnerable Witness Adviser regularly deploys to major crime investigations to assist in the development of interview and witness management strategies in cases that involve particularly challenging vulnerable or intimidated witnesses.
Example enquiry: A vulnerable child with learning disabilities has witnessed a murder they need advice on how to get the child’s best evidence and how to appoint an intermediary.
The Crime Team provides written and verbal advice, investigative suggestions and, where required, access to the deployable resources of the Crime Operational Support teams regarding:
Example enquiry: A body part (leg) has been identified in a park, they are looking for an expert who can comment on injuries which are present on the body part. They are also looking for advice and support in relation to searching for the rest of the body.
The Crime Team also have a Communications Data Adviser providing advice and support in making the most of investigative opportunities regarding communications data and related areas.
The National Injuries Database (NID) is a national resource to support serious crime investigations with the analysis of weapons and wounds. It is available to the police and to forensic practitioners both in the UK and internationally.
NID assists with the identification of unknown injuries, provides case examples of known injuries and weapons, provides advice and support on forensic medical issues such as child abuse, homicides and serious assaults, and sources independent external forensic and medical experts.