Police in the Borders want more members of the public to come forward when they find discarded needles and other evidence of drug-taking.
Eighteen such discoveries were made and reported in the six months to the end of September, compared to 13 in the corresponding period last year. Items included needles, used syringes and burnt tin foil.
At a meeting of the Police, Fire and Rescue and Safer Communities Board, Chief Inspector John Scott said that on no account should members of the public touch these items when they find them.
He said: “While reports of these discoveries have gone up, this is one statistic I would like to see go much higher. By collating and analysing this information and identifying locations we can better deliver targeted prevention activity. So I would ask the public not to ignore these items but to let us know.”
Chief Inspector Scott said the number of people detected for supplying drugs over the six months was 27 (the same level as last year) and that 16% of stop-and-searches for drugs had produced positive results – compared to 14% last year.
On alcohol misuse, Chief Inspector Scott said there had been an increase in the number of anti-social behaviour incidents which were drink-related – from 1,039 to 1,206 – a trend in part due to the good weather of the summer and the resultant number of alfresco house parties.
Although the number of incidents relating to licensed premises had increased – from 176 to 209 - he said this was down to “more robust recording of incidents”.
“Some really positive work has been done with licensed premises behind the scenes to ensure they are well run and that best management practice is followed,” said the Chief Inspector.