Facebook ad helps Scot cops seize fake goods, drugs
Tip-offs rocket: Clicks easier than phonecalls
Cash, drugs and illegal goods have been seized in Scotland after coppers logged into Facebook to snare the crooks.
The plod bagged over £68,000 in cash, drugs valued at £21,000 and £13,000 of counterfeit goods during Operation Opulent, which followed a campaign that let people report via the web anyone thought to be making money from crime.
Another £6.5m worth of assets were "referred for seizure" in one of Lothian and Borders Police's largest crackdowns.
More than 280 police officers and staff were involved in the two days of action, with 25 addresses targeted and 44 people charged.
The 'Made from Crime?' campaign launched on 15 August was the first time that people could send the cops anonymous tip-offs via the Crimestoppers website.
The police used targeted Facebook advertising to link to the anonymous reporting site and those tips, combined with information gathered over the phone, boosted the number of reports.
According to the police, in the first month since the launch, Crimestoppers reported a 17 per cent rise in all calls from the Lothian and Borders area.
"This campaign was deliberately designed to be ambitious and tenacious and target criminals who believed they could live lavish lifestyles from the proceeds of crime," detective superintendent David Gordon, head of Lothian and Borders Police’s Serious Organised Crime Unit, said in a statement.
"The response we had from local communities throughout the intelligence gathering phase was fantastic, and showed that they were not prepared to tolerate criminality in their area." ®
"lavish lifestyles from the proceeds of crime"
Why not just look for people living lavish lifestyles with no obvious means of support?
The police could cross-reference HMRC's tax data against the DVLA's car ownership records. Look for males, aged under 35, with low/no income but who drive a "bling" car - Range Rovers, M-Sport BMWs, etc. They won't all be drug-dealers, but you'd certainly find a higher proportion than in the population at large.
And I wonder
how many of the confiscated assets belonged to the victims of vindictive ex-spouses, rivals and spiteful enemies...
Not what I meant
"plenty, but if they were procured illegally then they are fair game. who cares where the info comes from."
Agreed on that point, but that wasn't the point I was making. How many *innocent* people had assets confiscated and themselves stigmatised because of vindictive ex-spouses etc filing false reports was my main point.
Did the police actually check the provenance of complaints and obtain other evidence that the gains were ill-gotten before kicking in doors and walking out with someone's stuff? Given the way the UK seems to work these days, somehow I doubt it.