A NATIONAL anti-corruption team has been set up by Police Scotland to safeguard public sector organisations.
The new unit, said to be the first of its kind in the UK, will also focus on the police itself.
Chief Constable Sir Stephen House said: “The actions of the few who engage in corrupt activity have a disproportionate impact on public confidence and the reputation of any public organisation.
“At a time of increasing budget constraints on the public purse, it’s important we do all we can to protect the public sector and our communities.
“The move to a single police service in Scotland has presented us with an ideal opportunity to introduce consistency and co-ordination on a national scale but also the chance to work with our partners in the public sector to strengthen the barriers against corruption.”
Sir Stephen is in charge of the newly merged force which was formally established in April.
Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said the National Counter Corruption Unit is vital to help organisations protect their staff, assets and funds.
“Organised crime is found in all areas of society, including the public sector, and it is essential that our prosecutors have the tools and resources to tackle these issues swiftly and effectively,” he said.
The unit will be led by Detective Chief Superintendent Russell Dunn.
Sue Bruce, chief executive of the City of Edinburgh Council, welcomed the new approach.
“While cases of corruption are rare, it is right that we should work together to ensure the highest possible standards of best practice for Scotland’s public sector organisations and it is helpful to know that specialist support is available should we need it,” she said.