POLICE seized more than £11million from Glasgow criminals in the last year under dirty money laws.

Prosecutors used the tough Proceeds of Crime Act - POCA - to seize the huge sum of cash and cripple gangsters financially.

New figures obtained by the Evening Times show Police Scotland delivered a series of blows to the city's underworld in the past year.

Detectives in a dedicated crime squad launched a major assault on organised crime when the single police force was set up last year.

Police have arrested almost 540 Glasgow gangsters since April - smashing scores of crime gangs. The initiative also prevented firms with criminal links from getting £8.1m in business.

Officers have targeted gang-linked criminals for a range of offences, from serious violence and drug dealing to money laundering.

Chief Superintendent Andy Bates, warned: "It's all about hurting those involved in serious and organised crime.

"Police need to be seen by the local community to be acting - putting doors in and arresting these people.

"We are targeting those involved in serious and organised crime with hard-edged policing.

"We are committed to tracking these individuals down and arresting them."

In just one month last year, in the course of Operation Myriad, officers recovered £310,897 under POCA.

The Evening Times investigation also found the number of drug seizures is up.

There were nearly 950 in 2013/14, an increase of 28% in Police Scotland's first year.

Police believe the increase reflects the use of stop-and-searches by officers.

Mr Bates is in charge of policing the large Greater Glasgow division - the entire city plus East Renfrewshire and East Dunbartonshire.

This is Scotland's biggest police division and the only one to have a dedicated unit tackling organised crime.

Specialist officers will scrutinise the finances and assets of anyone involved in organised crime, including homes, cars, bank accounts and properties abroad.

Police Scotland have increasingly used smart tactics to tackle organised crime, including proceeds of crime legislation.

Forensic accountants can now go after money as much as drugs and disrupt criminal activity.

AND Glasgow gangsters are finding life much harder than they have done in the past.

Police are examining their assets and investigating their front businesses.

Mr Bates, local police commander for the Greater Glasgow division, said: "We are continually looking at serious and organised crime groups and their businesses. We will continue to employ every means to disrupt them.

"We have had groups involved in the licensing trade shut down and ensured contracts have been taken away from taxi firms.

"Since April 2013 we have taken more than £8m in earnings from these groups. We are doing everything we can to reduce criminal activity."

"Above all, we are an enforcement agency and we will tackle the issues that matter to the community."

More than £80m has been seized from criminals over the past decade under Proceeds Of Crime laws.

In one notable case, a drugs trafficker was ordered to repay £214,000 in profits.

David McKenzie, 44, was jailed for six years and eight months last year after he was detained when he flew into Belfast airport.

McKenzie, formerly of Barony Drive, Glasgow, admitted being concerned in the supply of cocaine over a seven-month period.

Following his conviction, the Crown raised proceedings to seize his crime profits.

Glasgow projects have been funded by more than £1m in the past five years through the Scottish Government's Cashback for Communities scheme.

The scheme takes money made from the proceeds of crime and ploughs it back in to the community.

Mr Bates added: "It is important serious and organised crime is targeted from the grassroots. Every cop on the street is fully aware of their powers and how they can disrupt criminal activity.

"We will disrupt their money supply and we will disrupt their drugs supply.

"We will do everything we can to stop these individuals having a negative impact on communities in Greater Glasgow."