Sometimes when Kenneth Murray is reading the papers, a face or name jumps off the page.

That is not good. Because Mr Murray is Police Scotland's head of forensic accountancy which has seen him be dubbed the country's Elliott Ness from The Untouchables film.

And that means part of his job is recognising the country's crooks, whether they have been convicted or not. So those names and faces? They worry him.

"Are there people around who set off alarm bells in terms of their continuing influence?" he asks himself. "The answer is yes."

Mr Murray is not a police officer. He is a chartered accountant. Part of his job, first with the old Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency and then for the last five years with Police Scotland, is to help law enforcement bring down the respectable facade of organised crime in Scotland.

Scotland's traditional gangster businesses - such drugs, racketeering and vice - generate billions, at least at street prices.

That, in simple terms, means those controlling the underworld - its multi-million investment, global logistics and profit-laundering - are not the local wholesalers or street gangsters who tend to get named in media reports as criminals. They're business leaders. Or at least that is how they bill themselves.

Mr Murray doe not think that means they should get away with their crimes. "There is this idea that there are people who have managed to secure for themselves an insulated position to the extent that they're untouchable," Mr Murray says. "It becomes accepted that we can’t do anything about them. That is something we need to rail against.

"We also need to rail against the attitude that some of these challenges are too difficult to tackle in terms of law enforcement. If I have any relevance in this organisation, it is to try and ensure that nothing is too difficult."

Scotland has always been pretty good at locking up drug dealers, pimps or street racketeers. But the last four years Mr Murray has been driving a new way of looking at organised crime. Dubbed Project Jackal, Police Scotland has adopted the philosophy of an accountant to look at who is really in charge of street pushers. The technique is spreading. Other forces are adopting it, across Europe.

"In order to tackle serious organised crime you have to take on board the disciplines of business analysis and business strategy analysis," Mr Murray explains.

Scotland - and Scottish business - needs to take the threat of criminal competition seriously, he says. "Scotland, collectively, does a lot of work which is designed to tackle that threat, he says. "And I don’t want to suggest that these efforts are sub par in any way. What I want to stress is that this is not an imaginary thing. If you analysis through cold logic it is almost inevitable that something like this will present itself as a threat."

Mr Murray admits not everybody in Scotland is awake to the perils of a potentially criminalised economy. He admits to being "frustrated" by this. "There are a number of difficulties in terms of achieving the results we want to achieve.

"Some of those difficulties relate to how seriously we, as a society, regard economic crime.

"Economic crime can easily be relegated behind other crimes that involve physical harm. That is perfectly understandable. But the extent to which economic crime can have an impact on people’s lives is underestimated.

"We all understand cases of fraud and embezzlement. Yet there is a sort of insidious other threat whose direct impact is less immediate, less obvious.

"It is a drag. The fundamental penalty for allowing an accumulation of criminal cash in the economy is that it is a drag on the economy. It undermines competitiveness, it discourages legitimate players from entering those markets. If it becomes a growing theme in Scotland, it is bound to affect inward investment. I think it is a serious issue.

"It is one where our general awareness throughout business commerce and government needs to be upgraded. So that we are awake to this threat."

Mr Murray, meanwhile, remains relatively upbeat about Scotland's ability to see off criminalisation. The nation, he reckons, has strong institutions and a deserved reputation of business and professional integrity. But he hints for more investment in counter-mafia efforts.

Are the police outgunned by the crooks? "In terms of capability? Definitely not," he responds. "I think in terms of capacity, that is the issue."

So does Police Scotland need more accountants? "I could make the case for more forensic accountants," says Mr Murray. "But I make that case to everyone.

"We are coming out of a long and extended period of austerity. Police Scotland budget has been under a lot of pressure for a long time. We have got to do our best within those limitations.

"So we obviously must spend money to improve our cyber capacity but we must also upgrade our financial investigation capacity as well. Otherwise it will be like upgrading your car's engine without the tires."