Police in Glasgow develop strategy to reduce drug related deaths

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Police in Glasgow are developing a drugs strategy aimed at reducing the number of drug related deaths in the city.

The strategy is specific to Greater Glasgow Police Division and eight days of action will take place across October.

Statistics released by the National Records of Scotland in July 2019 showed the number of drug related deaths in 2018 was 1, 187– the largest ever recorded and more than double the number a decade ago.

Superintendent Gary l’Anson, of Greater Glasgow’s partnerships and resourcing team, said: “This strategy is different because it’s not simply enforcement.

“Enforcement alone will not solve this problem and we need to enhance our work with partners such as Glasgow’s Health and Social Care Partnership, which includes the council, NHS and social work, to give people the best service specific to their needs.

“There’s no easy answer to tackling drug related deaths but I’m keen that Police Scotland plays its part in the overall plan.

“We want to improve how we refer people to support services that will help break that cycle of criminal behaviour that often fuels their habit. The wider picture is about improving their lifestyle and the affect this has on that person, their friends and family and the community.

“During the days of action people will see more high visibility patrols in targeted areas involved in intelligence led operations. There will also be plain clothed officers gathering intelligence and outreach teams working alongside us.

“The police are expected to provide that enforcement role and that’s a crucial part of what we do but there will be other things happening behind the scenes that the public might not see. For example looking at how we can support that person we’ve just arrested and get them to an outreach team and direct them to other partner agencies who can help them in the long term.”

The strategy will be developed and reviewed by looking at enforcement results, intelligence gathering, joint activity with outreach teams and referrals to the Positive Outcomes Project. Once this is complete, feedback will go to Police Scotland’s national drug strategy group which will support the Scottish Government’s Drugs Death Taskforce.