Minor drug users ‘should not be charged’
A Scottish government adviser has said people caught with small amounts of illegal substances should no longer be prosecuted. Dr Roy Robertson wants the country’s forthcoming substance misuse strategy to “support rather than penalise”. He warned of a drug death “epidemic” and called for radical changes to how the country tackles drug abuse. His call was backed by Police Scotland’s substance misuse lead, Ch Insp Allan Elderbrant.
Public Health Minister Aileen Campbell agreed that there needed to be “innovative solutions to meet the challenges that Scotland has” with substance abuse. But drugs policy is reserved to Westminster and the Home Office has made clear it has no plans to change its current focus on enforcement.
Scots ‘increasingly likely’ to report suspected trafficking to police
Scots are increasingly likely to report suspected trafficking to the police, a new survey shows. Research commissioned by the Scottish Government shows that 87 per cent of people would report suspicious activity to the authorities, up from 80 per cent in 2017. The survey showed a slight increase in the proportion who thought trafficking was a big problem in Scotland, from 14 per cent to 16 per cent. Those in the west of the country were significantly more likely to think human trafficking was an issue ‘to a great extent’ – 20 per cent compared to 13 per cent in the east and south and 12 per cent in the north.
Recruitment role for ex-SPA chair leads to claims of “revolving door” in policing
A former Scottish Police Authority chair who quit after a bullying row has made a comeback after helping recruit a senior figure at a UK law and order body. Andrew Flanagan, who left the SPA under a cloud last year, chaired an interview panel that led to the appointment of a new deputy director general at the National Crime Agency (NCA).
The role has triggered claims of a “revolving door” of senior figures who leave high-profile jobs in Scotland only to maintain a link to policing. Flanagan, the former chief executive of the Scottish Media Group, was unveiled by Justice Secretary Michael Matheson as the new SPA chair in 2015. However, his spell charge was marred by a damaging row over secrecy at the body, which provides oversight of Police Scotland. Flanagan brought forward proposals to hold committee meetings in private and restrict the publication of board papers, proposals that were widely criticised.
Scottish Government’s human trafficking awareness campaign paying off
Scots are increasingly likely to report suspected trafficking to the police, a new survey shows. Research commissioned by the Scottish Government shows that 87% of people would report suspicious activity to the authorities, up from 80% in 2017.
However Scots were increasingly likely to think the issue was a big problem in Europe (59%) and the rest of the world (69%). In 2017 the Scottish Government ran a marketing campaign to drive up awareness of human trafficking in Scotland. Two-fifths (40%) of adults in Scotland claimed to have seen or heard activity on the topic recently, with the most common sources being TV programmes or news (23%), TV advertising (9%) and newspaper coverage (8%).
Among respondents there was an increased awareness of trafficking activity in farming and the beauty industry as well as prostitution or drug trafficking. Justice Secretary Michael Matheson said: “This survey clearly shows that, in 2018, more people are recognising trafficking, where it takes place, and what to do about it.
Click here to read more.