Bain confirms no drug prosecutions in consumption rooms

Bain confirms no drug prosecutions in consumption rooms

Dorothy Bain

There would be no prosecutions for simple drug possession offences committed in drug consumption facilities, Lord Advocate Dorothy Bain has said.

Responding to a request for a focused statement of prosecution policy in relation to a pilot safer drugs consumption facility in Glasgow, Ms Bain said: “On the basis of the information I have been provided, I would be prepared to publish a prosecution policy that it would not be in the public interest to prosecute drug users for simple possession offences committed within a pilot safer drugs consumption facility.

“I have not been asked to sign-off or approve any facility and it would not be appropriate for me to do so. However, prosecution policy is for me alone to set and this policy, and the consequences which flow from it, have been considered deeply and thoroughly.

“The requested statement will not extend to any criminal offences other than possession of controlled substances, contrary to section 5(2) of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. It does not amount to an exclusion zone whereby a range of criminality is tolerated.

“Police Scotland have operational independence and it has been of the utmost importance to me to ensure that Police Scotland retain the ability to effectively police the facility and ensure that the wider community, those operating the site and those using the facility can be kept safe.”

The statement will be an extension of the principles underpinning current policy in relation to diversion from prosecution. That policy allows prosecutors to make an offer of a referral to local authority services where there is an identifiable need which has contributed to the offending and that can best be met through a diversion scheme.

Addiction to drugs may be such an identifiable need and the Lord Advocate is content that the proposed facility could provide a mechanism for support services to engage with some of the most vulnerable people in society.

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