Serious Organised Crime Task Force

7 Oct 2014 02:30 PM

Cabinet Secretary and Deputy Chief Constable speak out on organised crime threat to businesses 

- Scotland's Serious Organised Crime Task Force has unveiled plans to prevent Scottish businesses becoming victim to serious organised crime.

- Top 10 businesses vulnerable to organised crime identified

Speaking following a meeting of the Serious Organised Crime Task Force in Glasgow, the Cabinet Secretary for Justice Kenny MacAskill spoke out to highlight the threat to legitimate businesses from organised crime groups.

Scotland's law enforcement agencies have joined forces with local authorities and the business community to raise awareness of the issue and to outline the steps they are taking to ensure Scotland remains one of the best and safest places in the world to do business.

DCC Iain Livingstone also unveiled the top ten businesses vulnerable to threat from organised crime, which analysis has identified as the vehicle industry, licensed premises, catering, property development and management, retail, health and beauty, taxi companies, the building trade, the security industry and environmental (waste).

As well as businesses being used to launder money or becoming directly involved in organised crime, during times of high staff turnover, companies can also fall prey to an "insider threat", as staff try to cash in on selling sensitive data or assets.

Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill urged business to remain vigilant and report suspicious activity, saying:

“The Scottish Government is committed to disrupting and dismantling serious organised crime, and the unique partnership working between agencies in Scotland through the Serious Organised Crime Taskforce means we are getting ever more sophisticated at outsmarting organised criminals wherever they operate.

“There has been a huge amount of work done to analyse the businesses most vulnerable to organised crime in Scotland. Our partners, including agencies such as the Scottish Business Resilience Centre, are using vital intelligence methods combined with the full force of their powers to hunt down those who would seek to target legitimate businesses and exploit them.

“The Serious Organised Crime Taskforce plays a crucial role in educating businesses on the risk of organised crime and raising awareness on how they can best protect themselves against it.

“I would urge companies to take measures to protect themselves; from proper security checks when taking staff on, to ensuring all staff can report suspicious behaviour of colleagues via an anonymous reporting system or the use of confidentiality agreements.”

DCC Iain Livingstone said:

"Because of our sophisticated intelligence we now know more than ever before about how serious organised crime groups operate. We know the kind of businesses they target and we know how they do it.

“We are working more closely than ever before with local authorities to ensure we protect legitimate firms by ensuring those with links to crime are denied access to public sector contracts.

“By choking off their funding we can ensure that serious organised crime gangs cannot flourish in Scotland"s economy.”

Notes To Editors

The Serious Organised Crime Task Force, which is chaired by the Cabinet Secretary for Justice, was set up by the Scottish Government to provide direction and co-ordination for all the organisations involved in tackling serious organised crime in Scotland.

The Task Force has a remit to pursue serious organised crime in all its forms by bringing together all agencies involved in tackling organised crime groups.

Key partners include Police Scotland, the NCA, HMRC, COPFS, SOLACE and the Scottish Business Resilience Centre, amongst others.

Disrupting and dismantling serious organised crime in Scotland is a job for everyone, not just law enforcers. The private sector has a key role to play along with other partner agencies. The work that the anti-illicit trade hub is doing is a perfect example of this.

Since 2003, the use of the Proceeds of Crime Act in Scotland has allowed over £88million to be recovered from criminals. Money recovered under the Proceeds of Crime Act is invested by Scottish Ministers through the CashBack for Communities programme. Since the inception of the Cashback programme in 2007, over £74 million recovered under the Proceeds of Crime Act has been invested or committed to a wide range of sporting, cultural, educational and mentoring activities for children and young people throughout Scotland. The programme has funded 1.2 million activities and opportunities for young people. Details can be found at

Further details of the work of the Task Force can be accessed here: