Heroin seized more than doubled last year
19 March 2019, 14:23
Drug dealers had almost 200kg of heroin and cocaine seized by police in Scotland last year, and more than 25,000 ecstasy tablets were confiscated.
Heroin was the main Class A substance seized in connection with crimes to do with drug supply, with 118.6kg discovered by Police Scotland in 2017-18.
Officers also seized 74.4kg of cocaine and a further 6.7kg of crack cocaine, according to official Scottish Government figures on both supply and possession-related crimes.
Cannabis weighing 1,178.4kg was taken from suspected dealers in either resin or herbal form, in addition to approximately 16,000 cannabis plants.
The amount of heroin seized from dealers last year was more than double the 54.1kg found in 2016, although there were just 11 more recorded cases.
The main Class C drugs seized were 321,000 diazepam or other benzodiazepine tablets, and 264,000 etizolam tablets.
For drug-possession crimes, more than half involved cannabis, with the Class B drug accounting for 54% of the recorded crimes last year.
86% of possession-related culprits were men and the offenders' average age was 30, while in almost a third of cases a person was under the influence of drugs or alcohol when caught.
The drugs were seized in the street in almost half of cases, while almost a quarter were discovered in a home.
It is estimated that 44% of drug possessions in the sample were detected by police while on routine patrol.
The majority of these were cases where police officers on patrol had a suspicion or observed that the offender was in possession of drugs, with this category accounting for 37% of all records reviewed.
A further 7% of records involved police on patrol finding drugs while dealing with another crime.
However, the number of recorded incidents has fallen for the last three years, reaching 27,171 estimated offences for drug possession in 2017-18.
Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf said: "In the last ten years we have invested over £784 million to tackle problem alcohol and drug use.
"Our new alcohol and drugs strategy will strengthen existing measures to support those vulnerable to drug and alcohol harm, while applying the full force of the law to hit the dealers who cause misery that blights the lives of so many.
"Drug enforcement, including seizures, remains a key part of Police Scotland activity, supported by the Scottish Government's commitment to protecting the police resource budget in every year of this Parliament - a boost of £100 million by 2021."