HC Deb 13 February 1985 vol 73 cc337-8
38. Lord James Douglas-Hamilton

asked the Solicitor-General for Scotland how many cases of alleged drugs offences have been reported to the Crown Office or to procurators fiscal in 1985 to date.

The Solicitor-General for Scotland

In 1985 to date, 290 cases have been reported to procurators fiscal.

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton

Does the Solicitor-General consider that the proposed change in the law to make fines available as the norm to the court in addition to prison sentences would be a useful deterrent, bearing in mind the alarming increase in the number of drug cases in Scotland?

The Solicitor-General for Scotland

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for the point that he makes. I regret that the problem of trafficking in drugs remains very serious in Scotland, as elsewhere in the United Kingdom. I am glad to say that our success rate in prosecutions in the High Court has been good. I hope that the amendments that have been put down to the Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) (Scotland) Bill will provide an effective addition to the armoury of deterrents against those who believe that trafficking in drugs is a profitable way to carry on.

Mr. McQuarrie

Can my hon. and learned Friend tell the House how many of the drug offences in Scotland last year were committed by young persons under the age of 18?

The Solicitor-General for Scotland

I cannot immediately answer my hon. Friend. I regret to say that that area of crime involves not only older people. There has been a significant and tragic increase in the number of those involved under the age of 20.