The Way Ahead
It is essential that we continue to develop our processes and procedures for gathering and sharing information to make sure that our communities and businesses remain informed about the threat and impact of SOC, and what steps we can all take to counteract this.
We have commissioned a research project looking at Scottish communities' experiences of SOC; the results of which will be available in early 2018, and will help us to better inform the work of the Divert and Deter strands.
We are also looking at the use of language around SOC and SBRC are also researching the availability of illicit and counterfeit goods on the Internet.
We also need to be prepared to tackle developing and emerging threats such as cyber-enabled and cyber-dependent crime. The launch of Scotland's Cyber Resilience Strategy in October 2015 has helped focus attention on this type of criminality, which has the potential to touch every person in Scotland; the aim of the Cyber Resilience Strategy is to help public services and businesses across Scotland to develop working plans so that they can develop an effective response to this threat now and in the future.
We plan to hold a number of multi-agency workshops specifically aimed at exploring and expanding the use of intelligence, and to discuss and develop areas for improvement so that SOC will find it more difficult to infiltrate the legitimate business sectors in Scotland.
Partners on the Taskforce will continue to identify key threats and look for the Divert, Deter, Detect and Disrupt strands to work with stakeholders to put in place plans and generate activity to help reduce the risks posed by SOC. The criminal landscape is continually changing and we must be ready to anticipate, pre-empt and react effectively when necessary.
SOCGs look for any opportunity to increase their wealth at the expense of others. The waste recycling, recovery and disposal sector is one area that can offer these groups opportunities to evade tax, cut corners and operate illegal waste management activities.
The Scottish Environment Protection Agency's ( SEPA) new Regulatory Strategy now commits SEPA to tackling environmental crime and serial non-compliance with regulations. Through partnership working with other enforcement agencies within the Environmental Crime Taskforce and other groups, SEPA will look to disrupt SOC within the waste to resources sector. This strategic commitment sends out a clear message that we will robustly protect our resources by actively challenging the threat to resources from SOCGs.
We will continue to explore ways of seizing and confiscating the assets of those involved in SOC, One such way will be through the Criminal Finances Bill, which was introduced in the House of Commons on 13 October 2016. This Bill will improve our ability to tackle money laundering and corruption, to recover the proceeds of crime, and to counter terrorist financing.
Communication, information-sharing and awareness-raising are essential to delivering a safer, fairer, more prosperous Scotland free from the harm caused by serious organised crime. The future relationship Scotland will have with Europol, especially in light of the UK leaving the European Union, will be essential to helping Scotland dismantle those SOCGs based overseas and looking to exploit Scotland's communities.
We will continue to work with our partners to develop sustainable performance measures that will demonstrate the progress we are making as a country in reducing the threat, risk and harm posed by serious organised crime.
Traditional and social media have an important role to play in highlighting the dangers of serious organised crime groups and their ventures; we will continue to work with a range of media outlets and organisations to make sure that we all know about the issues and where to go for help.