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Lothian and Borders police has launched a new initiative that allows the public to report suspected criminals, anonymously if they wish, "using facebook or via Bluetooth" or using the Crimestoppers website.

The Scottish force said that the 'Made from Crime' scheme is the first of its kind in the country.

The intelligence-gathering campaign is designed to make full use of the Proceeds of Crime Act, specific legislation that allows officers to seize assets that have been purchased through criminal activity.

Lothian and Borders said that more than £41m has already been seized from criminals through the Act, with the money being reinvested in community projects across Scotland. It hopes that the use of social media and other online tools will help them to identify more criminals.

Iain Livingstone, assistant chief constable at the force, said that the launch of the campaign sends out a strong message that Lothian and Borders is serious about tackling criminals profiting from crime in the area.

"I personally appeal to local communities who have any information to come forward immediately, either to Crimestoppers or to Lothian and Borders police," he added.

The scheme also has the backing of the Scottish Government, the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service.

Solicitor general Lesley Thomson QC said: "We have vast powers available to us through the proceeds of crime legislation and I am delighted that this new initiative will allow people to use social media to report anonymously those who they see flaunting ill-gotten gains before them.

"The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service will continue to take a robust approach to anyone who chooses to fund their lifestyle through crime – and we will use every power available to us as prosecutors to seize their assets and disrupt their activities."

This article was originally published at Guardian Government Computing.

Guardian Government Computing is a business division of Guardian Professional, and covers the latest news and analysis of public sector technology. For updates on public sector IT, join the Government Computing Network here.

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