"A Man's a Man for all that!" - Rabbie Burns

"Religion? No thanks. I prefer not to outsource my brainwashing." - Bunc
Trying to get your average Joe creationist to understand the phrase scientific theory is as hard as getting a fish to enjoy mountaineering. Its an unimagined world for them - it requires a complete reversal of their normal modes of thinking and being. The fact that humans could explain the complexities of this world without a creating God is a world view they cannot grasp. It's like asking a tuna if it appreciates the view from the top of Mount Everest. Bunc

Jan 20, 2007

Scotlands own FBI HQ?

A field in Lanarkshire is set to become the future site of Scotland's crime super-campus. At the moment the only indication of this is a sign which reads "Reserved for Scotland's Crime Campus." The super-campus will house the Scottish Crime and Drugs Enforcement Agency (SCDEA), Scotland's elite crime fighting agency.

Just as with the FBI's J Edgar Hoover building the aim is to co-locate the country's top crime specialists to deal with the growing threat of serious and organised crime at home and abroad.

With senior police officers warning that Scottish criminals are stepping up connections with organised gangs across Europe this is an important development for the Scottish justice system. Scottish crime links, including with the mafia, often aim to benefit from lucrative drugs and money-laundering schemes.
It is estimated that there are up to 20 crime bosses in Scotland, each wielding similar powers and with strong connections with crime families abroad. Many of them use the continent as a base to escape to when they become aware they are under scrutiny.
There are already eastern European gangmasters in Scotland. In 2004 over 30 people were arrested in the North-east in a UK-wide crackdown. The Eastern European criminals have a violent reputation and in Italy, Albanian gangs have pushed the mafia out of many of its traditional haunts. Specialists also warn that Scottish criminals are laundering money with gangs in places such as Estonia and Latvia, because their banking stipulations and legislation are not as strict as in the UK.
The super campus will bring together specialists working at the SCDEA on money laundering, hi-tech crime and drugs trafficking, the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA), which covers UK-wide issues, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and forensic services.
Head of the SCDEA,Graeme Pearson, has visited the HQ of the American FBI in Washington DC to see is lessons can be learned in organising the new crime-fighting body and how different agencies work together under one roof.
Cathy Jamieson, the Justice Minister, said the centre would be a "world-class response" to serious and organised crime. Joint working should enable arrest warrants to be issued more quickly and help prevent criminals from fleeing the country. It will target foreign gangs and international networks who operate with links to Scotland.
Ken Scott, head of the centre for police studies at Bell College, said that the ability of the campus to crack down on criminal networks would be reduced by having to work with eight different police forces.
"One national force would make working relations far easier and would help to define the role of the SCDEA," he said. "There are concerns that the agency and forces could be competing for the same territory."
Suggestions that Scotland's eight police forces might be merged into one national police service is vehemently opposed by many of the chief constables and it is unclear if ministers will back such a move.
The Justice Minister said that Scotland faced "an ever more sophisticated threat from serious organised crime" which required agencies to work together. She also said that, "The creation of the campus will also send out a strong message to international criminal networks that Scotland is not a soft target."
The campus at Gartcosh, which is estimated to cost £40m, is expected to open in 2010.

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