HC Deb 13 February 1985 vol 73 cc339-40
40. Mr. Malone

asked the Solicitor-General for Scotland how many prosecutions for drug-related offences have taken place in the Grampian region in the past 12 months.

The Solicitor-General for Scotland

The figures available are for 1984, when 294 drug-related cases were reported for prosecution in the Grampian police area.

Mr. Malone

I am grateful for that reply. While it is a tribute to the ability of the Grampian police that they have been able to contain the overall problem within the Grampian region, does my hon. and learned Friend recognise that within those figures there is an increased number of offences for the use of hard drugs? Will he consistently bear that fact in mind when considering sentencing policy?

The Solicitor-General for Scotland

As my hon. Friend will recognise, sentences are a matter for the courts. However, it has been the established policy for the past two years of my noble and learned Friend the Lord Advocate that where there are prosecutions of those engaged in the trafficking of drugs—be they hard or soft drugs — they should ordinarily take place in the High Court. That ensures that the full range of penalties available in that court can be used. I hope that in future that will include the power to impose, as a norm, a fine as well as a sentence of imprisonment.

Dr. Godman

Can the Solicitor-General for Scotland tell us how many of those prosecuted for drug-related offences were registered drug addicts?

The Solicitor-General for Scotland

No, I cannot give the hon. Gentleman an answer to that question. The range of offences covers not only those found in possession of drugs, but those found in possession of them with the intention of supplying them to other people. In those circumstances, whether or not the accused is a drug addict is essentially immaterial. We are seeking to crack down on the idea that people can engage in trafficking, especially when it is for profit.

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