The County You Live, Work And Play
Job Swap Nets Results
A North Lanarkshire Trading Standards officer was attached to Police Scotland's Lanarkshire Division to assist police officers, along with partners including North and South Lanarkshire Councils, the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT) and the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), effectively target serious and organised criminals by disrupting their legitimate activity whilst enforcing the law on their illegal operations.
In the three months (December 2014 to February 2015) of the pilot’s duration, almost £70,000 of counterfeit goods and £100,000 of illicitly obtained music were seized, as well as approximately £9,000 worth of drugs with testing currently underway to identify other substances seized.
In addition, the unique partnership made in-roads into more unusual types of crime with results including a 72% reduction in metal thefts following equipment checks carried out on licensed metal dealers, and the seizure of counterfeit tobacco and visits to retail outlets with a tobacco detection dog to identify hidden stores of fake cigarettes (courtesy of the Society of Chief Officers of Trading Standards in Scotland (SCOTSS).
Inspector Andrew Thomson, Trading Standards Officer Calum Duncan and Dixie the tobacco detection dog with his handler.
Checks were also carried out in licensed premises to test alcohol measures and brand authenticity and mileage checks were made on vehicles in second-hand dealerships to ensure owners were complying with local licensing board conditions. Specific
• A £17,798 recovery of counterfeit goods from a local business connected to serious and organised crime using Trading Standards’ power of entry
• The recovery of counterfeit football tops worth £29,000
As a result, police officers working alongside Trading Standards officers, Calum Duncan and Anne Marie Spalding, have increased their skillset by sharing of information, intelligence and knowledge with a range of partner agencies to tackle serious and organised crime.
Inspector Andrew Thomson, Safer Communities, at Police Scotland’s Lanarkshire Division said: “Tackling serious and organised crime is a priority for Police Scotland and we were happy to pilot this scheme to show how joint-working can really impact on our ongoing commitment to reduce the threat and harm that it poses to our local communities.
“The support of our partner agencies was crucial in the planning of this initiative, and it has been a fantastic opportunity for my officers to work with Trading Standards on a daily basis to gather intelligence, carry out joint operations and share good practice. I am delighted with the results of the pilot.”
“Although the pilot has ended, we are as determined as ever to keep up the pressure on those who commit and fund criminality. No one is untouchable, if you are bringing misery into our communities, we will come after you.”
Paul Bannister, Trading Standards Manager at North Lanarkshire Council, said: “We have a proven track record of partnership working with Police Scotland that delivers results, both in making our communities safer and in targeting those who break the law. The success of this operation demonstrates the effectiveness of working together by delivering on one of our key Community Safety Partnership outcomes, reducing the harm caused to communities by organised crime groups.”
Shirley Clelland, Head of South Lanarkshire Council’s Fleet and Environmental Services said: “This innovative partnership between South and North Lanarkshire Councils’ Trading Standards services and Police Scotland is a major step forward in sharing intelligence to tackle criminal activity in our local communities.
“We will continue to support and work with our colleagues across both agencies to target rogue traders and organised criminal gangs that use unfair trading practices, often preying on the most vulnerable in our communities. Our aim is to disrupt and subject them to civil and criminal enforcement action to make South Lanarkshire a safer place to live, work and visit.”
David Wood, Director of Copyright Protection at the BPI, said, “The challenge of tackling piracy is one that requires strong partnerships and innovative solutions. I'm delighted to hear that the secondment of expert personnel into Lanarkshire Police has been effective and the BPI is grateful for their efforts in the recovery of more than £100,000 of counterfeit music in recent months.
"Such joint investigations and operations support honest and legitimate businesses who abide by the law and aim to give music fans a great service. By striving to cut organised crime and illicit traders out of the system, we can direct consumers towards legal outlets to ensure more money goes back to artists and more investment can go into the production of future records."
Anyone with information on serious and organised crime in their communities should pass information to Police Scotland on 101. Alternatively CRIMESTOPPERS can be contacted on 0800 555 111, where anonymity can be maintained.