Borders drug busts double in a year

SBC Leader Councillor Shona Haslam and Councillor Watson McAteer, Chair of the Police, Fire and Safer Communities Board, alongside Local Area Commander Andy McLean (centre) and the community policing team
SBC Leader Councillor Shona Haslam and Councillor Watson McAteer, Chair of the Police, Fire and Safer Communities Board, alongside Local Area Commander Andy McLean (centre) and the community policing team

Local Democracy Reporting Service

The community action team was launched in April 2018 as a collaboration between Scottish Borders Council and Police Scotland to tackle anti-social behaviour and drug-related crime.

Between April 2018 and March 2019, the team detected 89 drug related offences (59 the year before). Over the same period, officers conducted 172 personal drug searches, and 57 property raids.

Although just 37.3% of the personal drug searches were successful, more than 77% of property searches yielded drugs. 

A report, going before Scottish Borders Council’s police, fire and rescue board on Friday, June 14, sets out the team’s efforts to tackle drug and alcohol abuse in the region: “A proactive and intelligence led approach by the Scottish Borders community action team has seen a 45.8% rise in detections for drug related offences, a significant increase compared to the previous year.

“In relation to alcohol misuse we continue to work with our partners to carry out regular licensed premises checks engaging with staff to ensure compliance with licensing regulations. 159 licensed premises checks were conducted.

“We have worked collaboratively with the licensing forum and Scottish Borders Council in regards to gathering evidence for the possible implementation of alcohol byelaws in the Scottish Borders.”

The community action team has also been proactive in dealing with ‘county lines’ drug offences (drug dealers from metropolitan areas set up base in more rural areas), and ‘cuckooing’, where drug dealers take advantage of a local user and take over their home or property to set up shop.

The report continues: “The national Crimestoppers county lines and cuckooing campaign input was delivered to all social landlords and to Scottish Borders Council’s private landlord liaison.”

A second community action team is expected to start work in the next three months.