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International Dimension For New Scottish Force

Dedicated asset will target multi-agency resources at suspects wanted nationally and overseas

The first dedicated fugitive unit for Police Scotland will focus specialist officers on tracking suspects wanted in the country – as well as assisting overseas agencies with investigations.

The unit will bring together the resources and expertise of officers from across the eight forces in the country as well as SOCA, Interpol and Europol.

They will share vital knowledge and information on wanted Scottish individuals living abroad as well as tracing international suspects in the country wanted overseas.

The unit, which will have less than 10 officers supported by an analytical research team, will also be able to access information from national and international agencies faster than before, speeding up search processes and developing best practice.

In an interview with PoliceOracle.com Gerry Corrigan, the Temporary Inspector for the National Police Reform Team, asserted that many officers would soon be dealing with overseas enquiries for the first time.

He said: “The unit will build a foundation of experience and expertise in this particular area and will develop important relationships to increase the efficiency of investigations.

“It will be able to tap into the local law enforcement agencies in countries overseas. We want to make best use of the research they can offer us and this will result in more efficient processes.”

He explained that the unit would compile specialist intelligence on countries that were hotspots for fugitives, including Spain and the Netherlands.

It is anticipated the new asset will go live at the same time as the single force in April 2013 and will eventually be based at the new Scottish Crime Campus at Gartcos.

Final details are still being firmed up – a lead officer has yet to be appointed and the size of the team confirmed.

T/Insp Corrigan was tasked with assessing how many fugitives are in Scotland and how the different forces dealt with them as part of plans for the single force.

He said: “This unit will provide more focus and resources to these investigations.

“The ethos is to make Scotland a hostile place for those fleeing Scottish justice with the development of strategic thinking.

“This is the most cost-effective and operationally effective way to conduct these kinds of investigations.”

Scotland currently has 40 suspects believed to be overseas and it is estimated that there are 60 people in Scotland wanted by foreign countries.

Police Scotland chief Stephen House said the unit will be the first of its kind in the country.

He said: “A dedicated international unit will ensure we continue to maintain and grow our connections to improve international police-to-police co-operation.”

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