Crack cocaine finds double in two years (Scotland)

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    Crack cocaine finds double in two years

    The number of crack cocaine finds by Scottish police has more than doubled in the past two years, figures revealed yesterday.
    But there was no seizure of methylamphetamine, or crystal meth, widely feared as the next big thing on the Scottish drugs scene.
    The statistics were contained in information on drugs seizures in Scotland, which was published for the first time by the Scottish Executive. Previously the Home Office had released the data.

    Police made 68 seizures of crack cocaine in 2003/04, but that rose by 10% to 75 in 2004/05, followed by a 97% increase last year to 148.
    The biggest triumph was claimed by Grampian Police, who have seized more than £2m of crack cocaine and heroin on the streets of north-east Scotland in the past year as they battle to disrupt the major English syndicates targeting Aberdeen.
    The seven kilos of crack cocaine worth £1m which was recovered was 10 times the combined amount seized by all the other forces in Scotland. Ten kilos of heroin was also seized.
    It is now more than a decade since the first crack was found by police in Grampian as the syndicates began their methodical and business-like move in.
    With clever and aggressive marketing techniques, including offering free crack cocaine with heroin, they established a major market. Now they are trying to reap the dividends, with a rock of crack which would sell for just £10 in England commanding between £25-£50 in Grampian.
    Detective Superintendent Alan Smith said the Grampian problem was unique and the force was having success in creating a hostile environment for the "clever and sophisticated" groups of dealers from Wolverhampton, Birmingham, London and Liverpool. The number of drug seizures overall in Scotland in 2005-06 increased very slightly compared with 2004-05, from 24,897 to 24,941. However 2004-05 had an increase of approximately 14% compared with 2003/04, from 21,768.
    The figures were welcomed by Justice Minister Cathy Jamieson and also by opposition politicians, who nevertheless expressed concern about the continuing impact of drugs.
    Mrs Jamieson said: "These figures show Scotland's police forces are continuing to play a vital and uncompromising role in combating this evil trade."
    An important element of this work was the executive's Drug Dealers Don't Care campaign which has led to more than 5000 calls to Crimestoppers, 530 arrests and the seizure of more than £1.6m worth of cash and drugs.
    "Professional police and a committed, involved public send a powerful message to dealers that Scotland is determined to stand up to them," Mrs Jamieson said.
    "However, enforcement alone will not stop the terrible impact of drugs. That is why we've increased the number of treatment places and have nearly doubled our investment in treatment to ensure people are helped to get drug free.
    "Drugs continue to blight too many lives in Scotland and we are not complacent."
    She added that problematic drug use was falling, with those injecting down from 55,800 in 2000 to 51,500 in 2003.
    Stewart Stevenson, SNP deputy justice spokesman, welcomed the rise in seizures, but added: "In tackling the issue we must focus not only on limiting the supply of drugs but also on limiting the demand and dealing with the concerning issue of why rising numbers of the population are turning to hard drugs."
    Annabel Goldie, the Tory leader, congratulated the police for their work but said she was "extremely concerned" by the growing amount of cocaine that had been seized.

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