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Drug seizures in Scotland on the rise

Police are seizing record numbers of class A drugs in Scotland, new figures have revealed.

Officers made 1600 seizures last year, the equivalent of more than four a day, which is a four-year high.

The number is higher than last year’s figure of 1562, and compares to just 1051 raids in 2014/15.

Among the seizures, the quantity of crack cocaine and ecstasy reached new levels.

And the 118kgs of heroin removed in 2017/18 was more than double that of the previous year.

In addition to class A seizures, police also made around 2000 cannabis-related interventions.

Shadow justice secretary Liam Kerr said the statistics showed police officers themselves were doing more than ever to tackle Scotland’s drug problem.

But he added the rest of Scotland’s justice system was letting them down, as serious drug offenders are routinely let off with lenient sentences.

He also said the SNP government was failing to help addicts who wanted to beat their habit altogether.

Scottish Conservative shadow justice secretary Liam Kerr said:

 

“Police officers are expected to do more than ever when it comes to ridding our streets of class A drugs.

“They now need to be backed up by the rest of the justice system.

“Instead, we have an SNP government which is far too soft on the issue of hard drugs and refuses to get tough on drug dealers.

“Last year, the police presented the courts with hundreds of opportunities to come down on drug dealers like a ton of bricks.

“But we have an SNP administration more interested in making it easier for people to take drugs, instead of giving them the support they need to beat the habit altogether.”

 

Ends

 

Notes to editors:

 

The following number of class A drug seizures were made by police in Scotland:

 

2017/18 – 1600

2016/17 – 1562

2015/16 – 1451

2014/15 – 1051

 

The full report is available here:

https://www.gov.scot/publications/drug-seizures-offender-characteristics-2017-18/

Leading rural GP quits as doctors hit out at SNP contract

A leading rural GP has quit a government body after accusing ministers of failing countryside practices.

Dr David Hogg, vice chair of the Rural GP Association of Scotland, told the Scottish Government’s Rural Short Life Working Group that the new GP contract was widely opposed by doctors who are not based in urban settings.

He also revealed the findings of a survey which found 82 per cent of rural GPs “believe that the outlook for rural healthcare is worse under the contract”, with a third saying services in those areas will have to be “curtailed” as a result.

This is despite the SNP government claiming the GP contract was popular across the country, with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon boasting: “It is good for the profession and it will also be good for patients.”

In his letter, Dr Hogg said: “I have become increasingly despondent about us seeing any pragmatic, realistic proposals to reverse the damaging effects of the new GP contract in rural Scotland.”

He then added that his duties in the role may not be replaced as “most of my colleagues have found themselves increasingly occupied trying to safeguard local services from the threats created by the new contract”.

Scottish Conservative shadow health secretary Miles Briggs said:

“Nicola Sturgeon seems to think her GP contract was a rip-roaring success.

“In fact, it’s failing the bulk of Scotland’s land mass and a fifth of our population.

“GPs are now feeling so strongly about this they are having to step back from positions just to focus on their everyday work.

“It’s just the latest example of the SNP obsessing about the Central Belt and paying next to no heed to rural Scotland.

“This letter should ring alarm bells for the SNP government, which is continuing to fail patients right across the country.”

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