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Scottish Police Eager To Stop Gangs Running Criminal Activities Through Taxi Firms

Scottish police are hoping to use anti-mafia agents to start controlling licenses for security firms, taxi companies and other businesses in a bid to stop gangs using legitimate businesses as a cover for their criminal activities. It would mean that specialist teams would gain powers which would be transferred from local councils. In Italy and Holland, police prevent gangs from gaining a foothold in legitimate business and Scottish police are hoping to follow their lead.

With approximately £9 billion spent in public money in Scotland each year, it would be the ideal way for gangs to hide their dirty money. In recent years, criminals have used businesses such as taxi and security firms, nail bars and nurseries in a bid to branch out. According to the director general of the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency (SCDEA), Gordon Meldrum, criminals with contracts in the public sector will have easy monthly income. This would allow them to stabilise their criminal empire and allows them to fund more drugs and weapons. As a result, it is vital to prevent these criminals from getting such contracts.

Ronnie Megaughin is a Detective Chief Inspector and the head of interventions for the SCDEA. He said that it is difficult to accept the fact that criminal gangs get contracts from local councils. He said that Scotland needs to follow the example of Italy where companies are required to get special ‘anti-mafia’ certification in order to be eligible for public contracts. He also pointed out that civil servants who have passed background checks are chosen to make licensing decisions in Holland.

According to Transparency International, the world’s foremost anti-corruption body, the UK has a low level of corruption in comparison to the rest of the world. However, Megaughin says that criminals are getting the upper hand when it comes to gaining public contracts and the UK’s system of dealing with it is outdated. He also stated that the Security Industry Authority was performing well when it came to preventing criminals from gaining a foothold in the industry.

Graeme Pearson, former member of the SCDEA and current Labour MEP, was delighted with these new plans. He said that it was important to find better ways to protect the public licensing system. Pearson is aware that some criminals are finding ways to keep themselves clear of the police. He is aware that low level licensing officials can be intimidated by such gangs. He concluded by saying that people in every Scottish community knew someone who seemed to be immune from the long arm of the law and were making money from criminal activity.

Source: Dailyrecord.co.uk