Falkirk police seize almost £750,000 in assets in drugs raid, annual report reveals

Falkirk Police executed 127 drug warrants in the past year in their efforts to tackle drug crime, councillors heard.

In a report to Falkirk Council's Scrutiny Committee, Chief Inspector Craig Walker said these operations had been much more difficult during the pandemic, with special risk assessments needed to keep everyone safe.

But despite that, there were 152 detections for drugs supply, drugs productions and drugs cultivation, an increase of 20 per cent from the previous year.

Nine street cash seizures amounted to £14,154.47 while £731,167.60 in assets were also seized.

Pic: Andy O'Brien

CI Walker highlighted several successful operations from April 2020 to March 2021, saying it was important that the community could see the information they were providing was paying off.

These included one in August 2020 when, as a result of intelligence received, a man was stopped by CID officers and £2280 of controlled drugs and £600 cash was recovered.

A search of his home later led to a seizure of £24,000.

In November, officers from Larbert Community Policing Team recovered cannabis plants valued at £42,000 and stopped an operation valued at a minimum of £50,000 per annum.

Pic: Michael Gillen

Another investigation, which revealed a 13-year-old and a 15-year-old were concerned in the supply of controlled drugs, led to an adult being arrested for dealing.

Other big results included January this year, when officers found a sophisticated set up with cannabis supply totalling £72,000 in Camelon - having been alerted to the smell and noise by local residents.

But the statistics also revealed that drugs are still wreaking havoc in people's lives - with drug-related deaths staying high.

In the first three months of this year, nine drug deaths were recorded - no change from last year.

CI Walker told councillors that his officers were taking part in a pilot that meant officers carrying Naloxone, which was used by first responders to counteract the effects of an overdose.

But, he added, policing is just one part a much bigger picture.

Superintendent Mandy Paterson told councillors that partnerships with other organisations including the NHS, the Alcohol and Drugs Partnership and housing services were beginning to come together.

"I don't think you can ever overstate how complex the issue is," she said.

"We're not going to enforce our way out of this - we need to work in partnership to look at the forces that lead to people becoming vulnerable to a drug-related death.

"The factors that impact will not be a surprise to many - poverty, mental health, trauma at various stages in life - these all very complex issues."

One of the difficulties, she explained, is getting reliable information as drug users can be transient and spikes can move from one local authority area to another.

"The more I see of it, the more I realise what a complicated issue it is - it's a long journey we're on," she told councillors.

"There's a national challenge around drug-related deaths and Falkirk is no different.

"There are no quick answers, but what we can do is make sure that we are coordinating services so we're not duplicating effort and are absolutely focusing on those who are most vulnerable."

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