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Strathclyde hosts serious organised crime prevention event

Police Scotland has warned universities and colleges of the risks posed by serious organised crime (SOC), at a conference hosted and co-arranged by the University of Strathclyde.  

Officers based at the Scottish Crime Campus came to Strathclyde to deliver a SOC prevention course for the education sector.

Around 70 delegates from institutions across the country attended, representing professional services including finance, procurement, estates, information technology, risk and audit.

The one-day course was designed by Police Scotland Safer Communities – Divert and Deter, to make institutions aware of the threat from serious organised crime.  It complemented work being carried out by the Serious Organised Crime Taskforce which aims to divert, disrupt, deter and detect organised crime.

Chief Superintendent John McKenzie said: “Tackling serious organised crime is one of our key priorities and we are making significant progress in this area. Everyone can play their part in helping with this and it is vital that we work with other organisations to help them identify vulnerabilities. 

“As we move into an increasingly digital world, so does serious organised crime and groups operate in a number of sophisticated ways, exploiting opportunities to enable various forms of criminality.

“We will do all we can to deter serious organised crime groups and part of this includes working with those who are responsible for procurement and large contracts in a range of sectors to ensure they take all steps possible to protect their organisations from these kinds of threats.

“We are absolutely committed to disrupting serious organised crime groups and working with our partners in this way, we can keep people safe from the harm they pose.”

Cabinet Secretary for Justice Michael Matheson said: “I welcome this latest SOC Prevention course, targeted at the higher and further education sector. It builds on the work of the Serious Organised Crime Taskforce partners to raise awareness across the public sector of what steps organisations can take to become more resilient to the threats from organised crime.

"All of Scotland's communities can be affected by the impacts of serious organised crime and all can play a part in resisting, disrupting and defeating it.  A collective effort will most effectively cut off what it needs to thrive and survive – people, money, information and access to contracts."

Fiona Hughes, Head of Procurement at the University of Strathclyde, a co-organiser of the event, said: “We are pleased to be organising this event and to have the support of Police Scotland’s Safer Communities division in keeping the education sector informed of developments and emerging risks.

“Raising awareness of these risk areas and types of activity encountered across all sectors supports the prevention of organisations and individuals becoming vulnerable to crime.”

12 June 2018