How many GANGSTERS are preying on the financial fears of pensioners? BBC Scotland and Herald care not, as long as they can scare us


Six times, early this morning on BBC Breakfast’s wee Scottish insert, Scotland’s pensioners, including me, heard:

‘Crime gangs rely on vulnerable people to develop their businesses.’

On the BBC Scotland website we read:

‘[O]rganised crime is now about preying on the vulnerable, “helping” when there are welfare and benefits shortfalls.’

And in the Herald, David Leask seemed able to be more specific with a view, presumably, to alerting his typical reader:

‘GANGSTERS are preying on the financial fears of pensioners to take over their homes for drug dealing and racketeering, a major new report has discovered.’

I’m not, in any way, trying to diminish the suffering touched on here but these reports fail to tell us what we need, as citizens, to be able to evaluate the situation. Is this a large-scale problem? How many pensioners have been affected? How serious are the offenses? Is this a growing problem?

I can’t access the full research, Community Experiences of Serious Organised Crime in Scotland, but the lack of figures in the media reports and the telling inclusion of the phrase Anecdotal evidence given to researchers described real situations in communities’ in the BBC website version, suggest that the report is the kind of thing that will be very useful in understanding and tackling such crime but isn’t really intended to be a measure of the scale of the problem. The lack of such essential data reminds us of the previous attempts by our loyal media to scare the ‘vulnerable’ and some pensioners, into believing that the knife and gun crime surge, evident in the non-Scottish parts of the UK, is spreading to Scotland, despite the lack of any supporting evidence. See:

BBC News tries to spread knife crime crisis into Scotland to tell us: ‘You’re no different. Don’t get any ideas!’

As knife and gun crime rockets across England and Wales and falls in Scotland, Scotland has far more police officers per head of population

These scare tactics appear not to have worked so far. See:

Are Scots less concerned about crime not just because there is less but also because they are learning not to trust media distortion?

Returning to organised crime gangs in Scotland, there is some comparative evidence which we can use. First, on 14th May 2018, BBC Scotland’s website reported that there were 164 organised crime groups in Scotland.

Then in the early morning broadcasts, BBC Salford reported that there are more than 4 500 gangs involved. The figures from the National Crime Agency (NCA) are presumably UK-wide figures.

So, if there are only 160 gangs in Scotland yet 4 500 in the UK as a whole, then Scotland has, per capita, far fewer gangs than the rest of the UK. Indeed, Scotland has 8% of the population yet only 3.5% of the gangs.

Is it possible that fewer GANGSTERS are preying on the financial fears of fewer pensioners in Scotland than in the non-Scottish parts of the UK?


8 thoughts on “How many GANGSTERS are preying on the financial fears of pensioners? BBC Scotland and Herald care not, as long as they can scare us

  1. William Henderson June 4, 2018 / 9:50 am

    It used to be called ‘crying wolf’. After a while you don’t listen any more.

    I wonder if this is a strategy to dumb us down completely?


  2. johnrobertson834 June 4, 2018 / 6:30 pm

    Thanks Jamie

    As I expected the researchers make it clear themselves that their findings, based on only 188 people, have very limited applicability to the whole of Scotland:

    ‘While the case study areas had traits that were similar to other communities in Scotland, however, it should be noted that these findings should not be read as a generalised picture of SOC-community relations in Scotland.’


  3. Gerry Robertson June 5, 2018 / 5:20 am

    To counter the news distortion I now regularly send this website to ‘friends’ and others who still get most of their misinformation from the traditional sources. KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK WE ARE DESPERATE NEED OF YOUR CONTINUED EFFORTS.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Contrary June 5, 2018 / 6:40 am

    I don’t know if I could listen to the news at all if I didn’t have blogs like this to counteract the distortion we are fed daily, I just wish more people would take the (small) effort.

    I don’t understand why anyone would not want to read alternative views, and get a bit of fact checking. Is it part of the culture of only reading the headlines? Or the avoidance of what is viewed as politics? A large number of people, I think, seem to avoid politics – possibly because Westminster has made it a toxic distant subject – and seem to be unaware that the media feeds them daily doses of news from a very singular perspective. Well, more and more people are getting interested in the second enlightenment – but even if a person doesn’t consider that to mean Scottish independence from those non-Scottish parts of the UK, I would feel much better that they had read and absorbed and was open to alternative views to what they get from MSM.

    I must say, I DO like our new phrase ‘non-Scottish parts of the UK ‘, nicely adopted John 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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