As Feds Downsize Mob Focus, Scotland Debuts Elite Unite Against Organized Crime

While the Feds have consolidated their focus on organized crime in New York City, the heart of America's Costra Nostra, law enforcement "across the pond" is taking a very different approach to the problem.

An elite unit aimed at tackling organised crime, human trafficking and serious fraud has been officially opened -- in Scotland -- by the justice secretary, according to an article on the BBC News website.

The Scottish Intelligence Co-ordination Unit (SICU) would gather information about top gangsters in a bid to "take them down." It is part of the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency (SCDEA).The unit will be housed in Livingston until the new Scottish Crime Campus at Gartcosh, Lanarkshire, opens in 2012.

"It was created to act as the "brain" of law enforcement in Scotland, bringing together intelligence and finance specialists. They will work closely with the country's eight police forces and co-ordinate and assess knowledge about the activities of criminal gangs, to develop more effective ways of preventing, detecting and dismantling serious organised crime."

The unit will also be home to Scotland's first dedicated expert resources for the co-ordination of intelligence on human trafficking, and serious and complex fraud.

"Serious organised crime affects us all. It brings human misery and to thousands of families through the harmful drugs they peddle," said.Kenny MacAskill, a Scottish National Party politician, the Cabinet Secretary for Justice and Member of the Scottish Parliament for Edinburgh East and Musselburgh since 2007.

"It undermines legitimate hard-working businesses which costs our economy in jobs.

"With this exciting new development law enforcement agencies will know more about how they work than ever before - and be able to act to take them down."

He added: "Of course, we continue to need the public's help to expand our knowledge, and disrupt these criminals' operations.

"Even the smallest piece of information about an individual's lifestyle or activity can be the key that unlocks the door to disrupting an entire criminal empire."

Added Deputy Chief Gordon Meldrum, director general of the SCDEA, "The gathering and sharing of intelligence is a powerful tool in the fight against serious organised crime.

"The more we know about the 'who, what and how' of organised crime's activities, the better equipped we are to bring them down.

"However, knowledge is worthless unless it is turned into action. This is the central purpose of the SICU and already the entire Scottish Police Service is realising the benefits of this new resource."

Juxtapose that with what happened to the New York's FBI organized crime squads: It was downsized just two months after a massive gangster takedown.

Heretofore each of the city's five families had its own squad of FBI agents investigating it. The reorganization involves the merger of the Bonanno and Colombo squads; the Lucchese squad teamed up with a unit investigating Eastern European crime crews.The Genovese and Gambino crime families each still have their own dedicated squads.

Some law enforcement officials fear this downsizing could lead to a resurgence of the Mafia, with the News article noting, that the Bonanno family rose from "ashes a generation ago after it was decimated by undercover FBI agent Joseph Pistone," aka Donnie Brasco.