Police chief's radical drugs call
The Chief Constable of Tayside Police has called for a radical approach in tackling drug-related crime in a bid to reduce demand for Class A drugs. John Vine wants to look at whether the criminal justice system could be used to provide alternative treatment for addicts rather than locking them up.
He said the set-up of drug courts or even prescribing Class A drugs to offenders could possibly be solutions.
The force's annual report shows heroin seizures in Tayside have tripled.
Mr Vine said that his force can continue to produce good figures but that would be a short-term measure.
We need to talk to politicians and health authorities to see whether we can do something differently to reduce the demand for Class A drugs
Tayside Police Chief Constable John Vine
He now wants to start a dialogue with politicians and the health authorities in a bid to provide a long-term solution.
Mr Vine told BBC Scotland: "I don't think we are winning the war against drugs just by enforcement alone.
"We need to continue that effort and reassure communities that we are going to be there for them but we also need to talk to politicians and health authorities to see whether we can do something differently to reduce the demand for Class A drugs.
"I would like to see, for example, drugs courts being set up in the area and would also like to see possibly some debate about whether prescribing Class A drugs might be something the health authorities might consider."
Mr Vine said he realised such proposals may not be socially acceptable but something needed to be done rather than simply imprisoning people only for them to get out and immediately re-offend.
There are no firm statistics but it is believed that three quarters of what is termed acquisitive crime is drug related.
Mr Vine added: "There are people who will have a view as to whether this would be socially acceptable or whether this would have any chance of working.
"I would like this force and this police area to be a pilot area for any initiative which might be regarded as innovative or risky which could be evaluated by experts to see whether we can reduce demand for acquisitive crime."
Tayside Police Force's annual report was published on Monday.
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