16/09/2009

Scottish Govt Reinvesting 'Crooked Cash'

Three of Scotland's police forces are to receive a share of money recovered from criminals to help in their fight against serious organised crime - and they are demonstrating their commitment by matching the funding from their own resources.

Under a new funding package agreed between the Scottish Government and ACPOS, Strathclyde, Lothian and Borders and Tayside police forces are to share £250,000 of money recovered from criminals per year for the next two years.

Combined with the match-funding that the forces have committed to provide, a total of £1 million is to be invested over two years.

The investment will be used to boost financial investigation and recovery of assets from criminals.

It will go towards the recruitment of 19 more financial investigators across the three forces and the setting up of a new Cash Seizure Unit in Strathclyde.

Speaking in advance of chairing the latest meeting of the Serious Organised Crime Taskforce, Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said: "Serious organised criminals will use every means at their disposal to make money.

"Today the Scottish Government and law enforcement are taking another step towards getting that money back. But this is not the end of the story.

"The Taskforce will maintain a clear and undiminished focus on stopping money ending up in the pockets of these criminals in the first place, and getting it back from them.

"Everyone has a role to play. We need to detect and punish organised crime through our police and prosecution service, but everyone has a duty not to fund it or fuel it whether in the public or private sector or individually."

Strathclyde Police Chief Constable Stephen House said: "Strathclyde Police is committed to tackling serious organised crime and this reinvestment of money, taken directly from the pockets of these criminals, is a welcome boost.

"We are currently focussing more closely on this area of criminality under our Break the Circle of Violence Campaign and this extra money will help us dedicate more officers to disrupting these gangs who both directly and indirectly bring harm and suffering to our communities."

The total amount secured through the Proceeds of Crime Act in the 12 month period from April 1, 2008 to March 31, 2009 was £3,508,548 from criminals convicted of relevant offences and £2,823,533.36 from cash forfeitures and asset recovery orders granted by the civil courts.

(GK/BMcC)

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