Businesses are being urged to watch out for signs of modern slavery following the launch of Police Scotland’s End Labour Exploitation campaign.
Guidance which aims to help SMEs mitigate the risk of criminal threat as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, has been published.
Police Scotland National SOC Interventions Unit (NSIU) has recently undertaken work to better understand the threat from Serious Organised Crime towards Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Protecting SMEs in Scotland
Police Scotland officers supported the Scottish Business Resilience Centre (SBRC) in preparing a threat assessment and suite of documents aimed at supporting the business community.
The initial documents comprise of five reports focusing on ‘The Impact of Covid-19’ on several areas potentially affecting SMEs. These are:
Detective Inspector Hutton of the NSIU said: “Local businesses are under significant financial pressure as a result of the Covid-19 restrictions and the economic impact this brings. This makes them vulnerable to approaches by local Serious Organised Crime Groups (SOCG’s) offering loans or support that’s almost too good to be true.
“Serious Organised Crime Groups will seize this opportunity to exploit local businesses for their own benefit and increase the grip that they have on the local economy. This suite of documents is aimed at owners or managers of local businesses to raise their awareness of these risks and supports useful SOC prevention measures.”
The documents are designed to provide a ‘one stop shop’ for information to support businesses during these difficult times.
Head of Business Resilience at SBRC, Ian Stephen, said: “We welcomed this opportunity to work with the NSIU to get this vital information direct to the business community. Sadly, criminal groups will always look to exploit vulnerable people and situations, and many organisations have been left in dire straits due to the effect of the pandemic.
“We hope business owners take the time to read this information and disseminate it to their staff. By raising awareness of these dangers, SMEs will be in a better position to put measures in place to make themselves more resilient to the threat of Serious Organised Crime.”
Guidance documents are free to access and can be found on the SBRC resources section here.
Mitigating the risk of Serious Organised Crime
The Scottish Business Resilience Centre is a committed partner of the Serious Organised Crime Taskforce and playing its part in helping reduce the harm caused by organised crime groups to the business community. It’s important that businesses are aware of the threats in their sector, protect themselves from cyber threats and fraud and report any concerns they may have.
Everyone has a role to play in disrupting serious organised crime and together we can help deliver a safer, fairer and more prosperous country free from the harm caused by serious organised crime.
You can read Scotland’s Serious Organised Crime Strategy here.