This item was published during the term of a previous administration that ended in April 2007
Public support for campaign against drug dealers
Actionable drugs calls to Crimestoppers have increased by 416 per cent since the launch of the Dealers Don't Care, Do You? campaign last week.
Deputy Justice Minister Hugh Henry welcomed the figures ahead of the forthcoming anniversary of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. This legislation enables the courts to take action to seize assets from criminals - funds which are currently being used to pay for this campaign and which from April will be reinvested in Scottish communities hardest hit by drugs.
Hugh Henry said:
"Drug dealers and their wares devastate communities and blight lives. Scottish Ministers are on the side of law-abiding communities who want to put a stop to them and this campaign is already helping do exactly that.
"I am encouraged by the public's initial response and the more than four-fold increase in the number of actionable calls to Crimestoppers about drug dealers. However, I want to urge the public to ensure this continues so that we can help get dealers off their streets and prevent more families and lives being torn apart by the misery of drugs.
"Next month marks the second anniversary of one the key elements of the Proceeds of Crime Act - the provision that enables the courts to seize criminals' ill-gotten gains and which is paying for the Dealer's Don't Care campaign. Funds which from April this year will be reinvested in communities hardest hit by drugs, helping them repair the damage they have suffered because of this evil trade.
"This legislation also continues to send out a clear message to dealers and others involved in serious and organised crime that a life of crime does not pay, that they cannot continue to live it up at the expense of the hard working majority and that we will hit them hard where it hurts most - in their pockets."
Members of the public who have information about drug dealers operating in their area, should contact Crimestoppers Scotland through its 24-hour helpline (0800 555 111). This information is then passed to local police forces to help officers build up sufficient intelligence to arrest these criminals.
The Dealers Don't Care, Do You? campaign was launched by the First Minister on Tuesday 15 February and will run until March 31, 2005. It aims to encourage people to provide anonymous information on drug dealers and drug dealing activity in their area to Crimestoppers Scotland which will then be passed on to the relevant force to take appropriate action.
The 416 per cent increase relates to 397 actionable calls on drugs between 7am on Tuesday February 15 and 7am on Tuesday February 22. This compares to 77 actionable calls on drugs the previous week.
The campaign, which costs £1.062m, is being funded entirely through assets seized from criminals under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. In future years, such funding will be used to help regenerate and improve areas hardest hit by drugs. Further details on this will be announced later this year.
The provisions of the Proceeds of Crime Act were phased in between December 2002 and March 2003, with Part 3 - the criminal confiscation provisions - commencing on March 24, 2003. In the past two years, just over £2 million has been drawn down from the courts and Crown Office to the Executive (figures to end December 2004). Any funding remaining for this financial year, will flow into next year.