Page last updated at 13:22 GMT, Wednesday, 28 May 2008 14:22 UK

Strategy to target serious crime

Forensic officers
The justice secretary promised new laws to reduce serious crime

A national strategy is being developed to tackle serious and organised crime in Scotland, it has been revealed.

The cross-agency approach will involve the Scottish Government, police forces, HM Revenue and Customs and the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency.

Details of the strategy were discussed at a seminar in Glasgow on Wednesday.

The initiative aims to target those involved in such crimes as fraud, drugs, human trafficking, prostitution, violence and intimidation.

Delegates at the seminar heard that serious and organised crime costs Scotland an estimated 2bn annually.

Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said there would be a zero tolerance approach aimed at all those involved in serious and organised crime.

"In our global economy we have to be ever more vigilant," he said.

We can take down these people who are preying off our communities and making substantial amounts of money rather than paying taxes
Kenny MacAskill MSP, Justice Secretary
"We recognise that serious and organised crime can distort democracy, that it undermines legitimate business and we are not simply going to entertain it in Scotland.

"It will mean new laws, it will mean enforcement of existing laws, it will mean working across agencies.

"Put together, we can take down these people who are preying off our communities and making substantial amounts of money rather than paying taxes."

The seminar heard that the fight against serious crime would be waged through new legislation, the continued seizing of assets, agencies working together and the co-operation of local communities.

The chief constable of Strathclyde Police, Stephen House, said: "One of the things that we are talking about is to develop a Scottish-wide strategy on how we can defeat serious and organised crime.

"That does not exist yet. We have got a strategy around counter-terrorism, but significantly there isn't one for serious and organised crime yet.

"Listening to the minister and the speakers today, people will feel we really need to develop that strategy - to put down on paper and to understand exactly what all the partners can bring to the table."


SEE ALSO
Card fraud 'runs into millions'
13 May 08 |  Scotland
Crime leaders warned of clampdown
19 May 05 |  Scotland

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