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Last Updated: Wednesday, 24 November, 2004, 15:57 GMT
Organised crime bill at-a-glance
Community support officers
CSOs could be given extended powers under the new bill
The government has unveiled its Serious Organised Crime and Police Bill which contains detailed proposals aimed at combating criminal gangs.

These are some of the plans which it outlined::

Policing changes

  • The creation of the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA), an FBI-style organisation aimed at tackling criminal networks

  • Providing police with the power to arrest for all offences, subject to certain tests, replacing the existing system of arrestable and non-arrestable offences

  • Limiting chief constables' personal liability under health and safety law

  • Improved use of forensic materials

    New powers

  • Extending the Serious Fraud Office-style powers which mean individuals are obliged to answer questions in interviews and to produce documents on demand

  • Offering sentence reductions where appropriate to make it more attractive for convicted offenders to help secure the convictions of other, more serious, offenders.

  • More powers for community support officers, such as the power to direct traffic and deter begging, and an increased role for police civilian staff.

    Harassment laws

  • A new offence of harassing someone in their home, which is aimed at animal rights extremists who target people connected with vivisection.

  • Making it an offence to harass two or more people who are connected in some way.

  • Introduction of an offence of incitement to religious hatred.

  • Giving police the ability to impose conditions on anyone protesting outside Parliament.

    What new powers police and prosecutors will have

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