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Facebook users are now able to anonymously report crimes and knowledge of criminal activity to Scottish police, following the introduction of a new Facebook tipping system.
This system, launched by the Lothian and Borders Police force, is designed to be an intelligence gathering service aimed at building evidence against those profiting from criminal activity in the region.
The police force has taken a leaf out of the New York police department who also recently started a Facebook crime-reporting site.
A German police department in the northern city of Hanover has also turned to Facebook for help in the solving of crimes. Its Facebook page urges anyone with information on pending cases to come forward. In the six months it has been in existence, it has already been of aid in the solving of six cases.
The Scottish programme, named “Made from Crime” employs the country’s Proceeds of Crime Act. This act lets British officers confiscate assets that have been acquired through criminal means. Over £41-million has been legally seized since 2002, with the money having been used to investment in community projects across Scotland.
Ian Livingstone, an assistant chief constable said:
We know there are people living beyond their means on the proceeds of crime, be it through the purchase of flash cars, designer clothes or expensive jewellery, and that communities are suffering from the side effects of drug dealing, violence and other associated crimes.
I personally appeal to local communities who have any information to come forward immediately, either to Crimestoppers or to Lothian and Borders Police. Similarly, I would assure people who are trapped by those threatening them with violence or retribution, either associates or partners, that we will help them and tackle the violence and criminality they face. We will act on intelligence and bring offenders to justice.
Solicitor General Lesley Thomson, QC, is happy that this new initiative will allow people to use social media to anonymously report citizens who have gained items through criminal activities.
This scheme has the backing of the Scottish government, the Procurator Fiscal Service and the Crown Office.
For full details of the Made from Crime scheme, the official press release can be viewed here.