Gary Phillips provided information that enabled us to find verifiable evidence from 1970.
Now familiar from police procedurals and television crime dramas, the term SOCO (an acronym from ‘scene(s)-of-crime officer’) originated in the jargon of Scotland Yard. The first example in OED‘s entry is from a dictionary of abbreviations:
1977 Ellen T. Crowley New Acronyms, Initialisms, & Abbreviations 148/1 SOCO, Scenes-of-the-Crime Officer [Scotland Yard].
We can assume that the author of this glossary had seen evidence of the word, so there ought to be documentation predating the publication of the book. We would expect to find it in documents or publications relating to British law enforcement. Can you help us?
Posted by OED_Editor on 30 November 2012 10.28