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Scotland move one step closer to decriminalising Class A drugs

If individuals are found in possession of Class A substances they could face a warning rather than facing formal charges.

The country’s new Lord Advocate Dorothy Bain is proposing a new policy move – due to the rising drug fatality problem.

Dorothy Bain is proposing, anyone found in possession of a Class A drug could be given a police warning rather than face official charges.

Given the gravity of these types of offences, they will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. If the individual in question has previous criminal activity and a history of drug addiction or drug-related offences it will play a part in determining whether they will receive a warning or face charges.

In addition, to prevent reoffending, the offenders will be put on a diversion treatment. The Scottish Conservatives have reacted negatively, calling it “de facto decriminalisation via the back door.”

In response, Dorothy Bain said it was to give police discretion over Class A drug offences and did not amount to decriminalisation and there isn’t a “one-size-fits-all approach” to dealing with drug addiction and the issues surrounding drug use.

While the policy move has been called dramatic by some, Dorothy Bain went on to say:

“I recognise the scale of the public health emergency we confront in Scotland and the power of prosecutors to help,”

Bain was quick to point out this new policy does not apply to drug distribution offences; this wouldn’t prevent officers from referring a vulnerable person to support services. Bain further details the existing diversion from prosecution policy, allowing individuals to be sent to a support programme with the aim of proactive treatment to tackle the criminal behaviour at the roots.

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