Banff and Buchan MP David Duguid has condemned the SNP Government after the Lord Advocate announced new measures which could see police warnings issued for all drug offences in Scotland.
People caught with class A drugs will be able to receive police warnings instead of being referred to prosecutors.
Lord Advocate Lesley Bain announced the dramatic move to MSPs in a statement today (22 September 2021). This comes after 1,339 deaths were registered in Scotland in 2020 – the largest number since records began in 1996.
Under current policy, police officers may choose to deal with low-level offences by issuing a Recorded Police Warning.
The guidelines have allowed police to issue these warnings to people for possession of Class B & C drugs.
Lord Advocate Lesley Bain said
I have decided that an extension of the Recorded Police Warning Guidelines to include possession of offences for Class A drugs is appropriate.
Police officers may therefore choose to issue a Recorded Police Warning for simple possession offences for all classes of drugs.
Class A drugs include heroin, cocaine, ecstasy and crystal meth.
However, the move sparked an immediate backlash from the Tories who pointed out the undemocratic nature of the move. MSP Murdo Fraser who said
Effective decriminalisation of drug possession & use in Scotland. Being introduced by a law officer without legislation, formal consultation or even a Parliamentary vote.
Banff and Buchan MP David Duguid said
This is an extraordinary announcement from the Lord Advocate today, essentially decriminalising drug possession in Scotland.
The Lord Advocate is unelected, and this move has been made without legislation or consultation of the Scottish Parliament.
It is totally undemocratic and after another record high for drugs deaths under the SNP’s watch, it is totally irresponsible as well.
I join my Scottish Conservative MSP colleagues in condemning this disrespect of the Scottish Parliament and the people of Scotland.