Making life difficult for criminals

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IN AN effort to reduce the harm caused to local communities by serious organised crime, Tayside Police is seeking to have greater scrutiny of public and private business and enhance its information sharing with local authorities and other agencies.

The experience of law enforcement agencies across the UK is that criminals can use seemingly legitimate business as a front for illegal activity such as drug dealing or money laundering.

Tayside Police wants to make life as difficult as possible for such criminals seeking to gain a foothold in the region by ensuring that there is absolute clarity concerning companies or businesses when they are seeking registration, licensing, certification to operate, or are subject to inspection.

‘Letting Our Communities Flourish’, a national strategy for tackling serious organised crime in Scotland, was launched in 2009 with the intention of:

DIVERT – individuals - particularly young people - from engaging in or using the product of serious organised crime.

DISRUPT – the activities of serious organised crime groups.

DETER – through measures to protect communities, businesses and the public sector from serious organised crime.

DETECT – by boosting capacity and improving co-ordination to give serious organised criminals no place to hide.

It is a multi-agency strategy supported by the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland, Scottish Government, the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency, the Scottish Prison Service, the Serious Organised Crime Agency, HM Revenue and Customs and the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives, as well as working closely with other public bodies such as the Department of Work and Pensions, SEPA and the NHS.

Tayside Police’s efforts to push the boundaries of information sharing with local authorities and licensing boards and committees in particular address the objectives and will ensure that decisions are better informed than ever.

Detective Inspector Callum Leith, a former senior office in Arbroath and now of the Crime Intelligence Division, said: “Much of what we have done has been in respect of detection – getting the criminals off of our streets, put before the courts and jailed, while at the same time seizing any ill-gotten gains.

“However, this initiative, focussed through the ‘4Ds’ of Disrupt, Divert, Detect and Deter, is specifically about intervening in the activities of serious organised criminals who might use seemingly respectable companies or businesses as a front for other illegal activities. “

Detective Inspector Leith concluded: “Serious organised crime is a blight on all our communities and can bring misery to many people through violence and crime and the knock on effects such as drug addiction. Law enforcement agencies and other key partners work closely and are determined that there will be no hiding place for criminals and criminal organisations.

“But the public also has a crucial role to play in telling the police about any criminal activity they see or suspect is happening in their neighbourhoods.”

Anyone who has information or concerns, or who has any suspicions about certain goings on, or individuals in their area should call Tayside Police on 0300 111 2222, or speak to their local officer. Alternatively information can be passed anonymously via the charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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