People caught in possession of sophistication A medication in Scotland could possibly be issued with a police warning fairly than going through prosecution, in a big coverage shift introduced by the nation’s new lord advocate as a direct response to the continued drug dying disaster.
Dorothy Bain, who was appointed to the function in June, mentioned the choice to offer police discretion over class A drug offences didn’t quantity to decriminalisation however advised MSPs there was “nobody dimension matches all response” to coping with drug dependancy.
She added that the coverage didn’t lengthen to drug provide offences and that neither providing a recorded police warning nor reporting a case to the procurator fiscal prevents an officer referring a weak individual to assist companies.
Police can already concern warnings for class B and C drug customers, fairly than refer them to the prosecution service.
In her first tackle to the Holyrood parliament since her appointment, Bain advised MSPs: “I recognise the extent of the general public well being emergency we face in Scotland and the power of prosecutors to assist.”
Bain went on to stipulate the success of the present “diversion from prosecution” coverage, whereby a person will be referred to a programme of assist with the intention of addressing the underlying causes of their offending.
Bain advised the Holyrood chamber: “Essentially the most applicable response – the neatest response – in any medication case have to be tailor-made to the info and circumstances of each the alleged offence and the offender.”
Campaigners hope that the announcement signifies a cultural in addition to coverage change, with the Scottish authorities prepared to think about radical alternate options within the face of hovering dying tolls, which noticed a file 1,339 individuals die final yr.
Welcoming the announcement, David Liddell, the chief govt of Scottish Medicine Discussion board, mentioned: “The extension of recorded police warnings to all substances displays a dedication to cease the differentiation between substances which is commonly primarily based on prejudice and sophistication issues. The extension of diversion from prosecution for crimes related to drawback drug use takes us nearer to having a felony justice system that may deal extra successfully with supporting individuals away from felony exercise.”
The announcement prompted a right away backlash from the Scottish Conservatives who described it as “de-facto decriminalisation by the again door” of medication akin to heroin, crystal meth and crack cocaine.
Different events welcomed the shift. Maggie Chapman, justice spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, who entered a power-sharing settlement with the Scottish authorities final month, mentioned: “Given Scotland’s worryingly excessive drug dying charge, it’s vital we transfer to a hurt discount method, and this transfer is a crucial step given the restricted powers Scotland has to handle it. It’s particularly wanted in locations like Dundee, the place complete communities are devastated by the failures of the ‘warfare on medication’ method.”