The Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca) has enjoyed a good first year of operation, according to its director general Bill Hughes.
Since its inception on 1 April 2006 the organisation has made 684 arrests, charged 343 people and is currently achieving a 94 per cent conviction rate when it brings cases to court.
Soca is also pioneering a new approach to policing by focusing on crime and harm reduction rather than following politically directed targets.
"Our target is to reduce crime, not hit targets," said Hughes. "It's a whole new relationship to how the police operate."
Speaking at the start of the fifth eCrime Congress in London, Hughes said that one of the chief roles of the unit, and the conference, is to foster better relationships between corporates, government and law enforcement agencies.
Soca has made use of new asset seizure laws over the past year, allowing it to bring court orders against 80 online criminals and recover £12.9m in stolen assets.
In addition, some individuals will now have to report quarterly income and outgoings information so that further purloined funds can be identified and seized.
On an operational basis, Soca has organised a single network infrastructure for information sharing, and established a database of the top online criminals for use in detections.
The organisation, which now has a network of 23 officers overseas collaborating with other police forces to help with cross-border crime, claims to be the second largest network in the world after the US Drug Enforcement Agency.
The main focus of activity is drugs and immigration crime, which has doubled over the past year.
Hughes said that Soca had liaised with the Royal Navy over drugs interdiction, and that the Navy had made five drugs seizures in the past year worth £58m, including finding 11 tons of cocaine in November.
Commander Will Warrender, commanding officer of HMS Argyll, said: "The Royal Navy is working closely with other agencies such as Soca in the fight against drugs.
"I am delighted yet again that we have been able to play our part in the battle to keep drugs off our streets."
But Hughes warned that the battle against electronic crime is a "marathon, not a sprint", and that new criminal techniques are evolving all the time.
Hughes will present a full annual report to parliament shortly.
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