IT is absolutely right and fitting that criminals should pay for their crimes.

And the Proceeds of Crime Act is allowing the police to make that desire for financial recompense a reality.

The £11m seized from criminals over the last 12 months not only hits these undesirables where it hurts most - in their pockets - but is being used to assist the very communities which are so often tarnished by nefarious activities.

The Cashback for Communities scheme funnels money into worthy causes, with Glasgow projects receiving more than £1m over the past five years.

Last year scores of crime gangs were smashed and more than 500 gangsters were arrested as an increasingly focused approach to policing ensures life has never been more challenging for those on the wrong side of the law.

Disrupting the money and drugs supplies of these people will limit the damage they can inflict on the communities in which they operate.

However, it is essential that citizens can also see other tangible evidence of the success of these police initiatives, most notably by drugs becoming more expensive and less accessible.

If officers can also deliver that, the positive impact will be felt in communities across Scotland.