Kenny MacAskill appointed Chair of Anti Illicit Trade Group
Tuesday, December 12th, 2017
FORMER Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Kenny MacAskill, has been appointed as the new chair of the Scottish Anti Illicit Trade Group (SAITG).
The 59-year-old SNP politician will head up the group – which brings together experts from both the public and private sectors with the aim of reducing the impact of illegal trade across Scotland.
The unlawful sales of counterfeit products costs the country’s economy millions each year and threatens the jobs of many hardworking Scots whose services can be undermined by shoddy – or even dangerous – fakes.
Everything from clothing and beauty products, to medical equipment and tobacco sales can be affected by fake imitations which can be both harmful to public health and the wider wealth of the country.
Mr MacAskill, who will chair meetings between HMRC, Police Scotland, Trading Standards, industry regulators and private sector representatives said: “It is a great credit to those involved that they’ve pulled together so many important organisations and managed to get them round the table.
“I think it’s agreed that a problem shared is a problem halved so it’s great to have so many experts on board and I’m delighted to have the opportunity to help.
“The creation and sale of illicit goods is not a victimless crime. It puts hard working people out of business and undermines the economy.”
SAITG was formed by the Scottish Business Resilience Centre (SBRC) on behalf of the Serious Organised Crime Taskforce in 2014 and aims to reduce the scale, impact and cost of illicit trade across the country.
The former MSP was justice secretary for seven years between 2007 and 2014 and brings with him a wealth of experience in dealing with the various aspects associated with illicit trade.
While in the role, Mr MacAskill lifted the ban on alcohol at rugby union matches held at Murrayfield Stadium and was also heavily involved in the response to the 2007 terror attack on Glasgow Airport.
Speaking about his new role, he continued: “It’s an ever-changing crime. It’s not just sales out the back of a white van these days, with more and more done over Facebook, Gumtree and dubious websites.
“Anything and everything can be counterfeited and a key piece of advice is that if it’s too good to be true, then it usually is.
“It’s why the work of the organisation is so important as we’re trying to coordinate everyone’s skills and talents to protect innocent people.
“It will really help to widen public and business involvement as it seeks to protect citizens and our economy.”
Mr MacAskill is replacing Frank McCann as chair of the group as he is retiring from a 30 year career with Central Scotland Police and laterally Police Scotland.
The SAITG was formed by SBRC, which works towards creating a secure Scotland which enables businesses to flourish.
For more information on the SBRC and its services, visit www.sbrcentre.co.uk.
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