Facebook Tip-Offs Aid Scottish Police Raids

Over £100,000 of cash, drugs and illicit goods were seized by police forces and £6.5m worth of assets were referred for seizure after a series of raids in the Lothian and Borders area of Scotland, UK.

This was the culmination of a one of the largest operations ever undertaken throughout the force area by Lothian and Borders Police. The campaign used Facebook to encourage members of the public to tell them if they thought people were profiting from crime. Police said a large part of the operation came as a direct result of intelligence and information provided by the public since the launch of the Made from Crime? campaign in August.

Targeted Facebook advertising was used by Lothian and Borders Police to link to the anonymous reporting site and that, combined with the Crimestoppers telephone number, yielded significant amounts of intelligence.

Crimestoppers reported a 17% rise in all calls for the Lothian and Borders area to the charity in the first month of the campaign. Det Supt David Gordon, head of Lothian and Borders Police’s Serious Organised Crime Unit, said:

“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. 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.”

This is not the first time that social media has been used to apprehend criminals – in the aftermath of the UK riots earlier this year, Twitter and Tumblr were also used in the ‘Catch A Looter’ campaign.