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Last Updated: Sunday, 17 October, 2004, 08:17 GMT 09:17 UK
Agencies get organised over crime
Man in handcuffs
The new site will provide a focus for the battle against crime
Scotland is to have the first anti-organised crime campus in the UK.

The institute will be built at the site of the former Gartcosh steel mill in Lanarkshire.

The project, led by the Scottish Drugs Enforcement Agency (SDEA), aims to locate all the agencies fighting organised crime in one building.

SDEA director Graeme Pearson said concentrating expertise on a single site would make combating organised crime more effective.

Mr Pearson said: "We'll bring together all the experts from the different departments and organisations onto one site.

"They have similar targets, they gather together the intelligence they have on these targets and we're able more effectively to answer the threat that serious and organised crime presents in Scotland.

Graeme Pearson
Mr Pearson said the move would send a message to crime bosses
"Additionally, in a national and international context, a campus says to Europe that serious crime is not welcome here."

It is understood that the drugs agency will be joined by a national forensic science unit, the Immigration Service, Customs and Excise and others.

Building will take some two years, by which time an anti-organised crime agency for Scotland will be operating.

A Scottish Executive spokeswoman said the campus could cost up to 40m.

"Given the growing and evolving threat from serious and organised crime, we cannot rest on our laurels," she said.

"While discussions about the new centre of excellence are still at an early stage, we have set aside significant resources to enable planning to get under way."

The former British Steel works at Gartcosh closed in 1986.

A railway station is already being built at the location, which lies adjacent to the M73 motorway with links to the M80 and M8 nearby.

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