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Statistical Bulletin: Crime and Justice Series: Drug Seizures by Scottish Police Forces, 2005/2006 and 2006/2007

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Notes

1. This is the second time that statistics on the drug seizures made by Scottish police forces have been published by the Scottish Government. Previously 2004/05 and 2005/06 data was published by the then Scottish Executive for the first time in January 2007. Historically the Home Office collected and published the data. The Home Office collected police data from the Scottish Police forces until March 2006. The Scottish Government processed the raw data from calendar year 2004 onwards.

2. This publication does not contain information from HM Revenue and Customs, British Transport Police and seizures outwith Scotland as a result of SCDEA (Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency) operational activity. SCDEA seizures in Scotland are included in the Police Force data. It is not possible to distinguish which seizures had a SCDEA involvement.

3. Seizures involving more than one drug are counted as a single seizure in the total number of seizures but are counted separately against each individual drug or drug class involved. As a seizure can involve more than one drug, figures for individual drug classes cannot be added together to produce totals. Therefore the number of seizures of drug by class can add up to more than the total number of seizures.

4. In addition, a seizure is the result of an operation that is recorded by police. If the operation undertook raids on several properties this will be recorded as one seizure. Similarly, a single seizure may result in multiple offences and multiple perpetrators.

5. Accurate information about drug seizures may take up to nine months to be processed depending on the complexity of the operation and other operational factors. Also, as operations continue, updated information may be available at police force level. Inevitably, these data are a snap-shot of what the police have recorded at a given time. The definitive number of seizures and quantities recovered at police force level are held by the corresponding force.

6. The Home Office notes that the development of a new database of drug seizures made by the police was developed between 1999 and 2000, coming on line in September 2000. There are some differences between the way in which this database counts seizures compared to the two databases it replaced. It was discovered that figures previously published for the period 1993 to 1999 were undercounting the number of seizures. The historic data in this bulletin were updated by the Home Office to take this into account.

7. The quantity of LSD and ecstasy-type drugs seized has been listed as the number of doses seized rather than as a weight; this is because the drugs are almost always encountered in the form of capsules or tablets in the case of ecstasy-type drugs or impregnated squares in the case of LSD. Previous publications by the Home Office have applied conversions to change the doses/tablets to kilograms. No conversion has been applied and the quantities are presented in the predominant preparation type. As a result, some seizure quantities are therefore not included as they are of the incorrect preparation which cannot be converted. A supplementary table exists ( table 21) which records the additional seizures of LSD and ecstasy-type drug that were seized and weighed.

8. Similarly, a large number of tablets and doses have been recovered over the historic period. These are not included in the quantity tables that present weights. Supplementary table 22 records large seizures of drugs recovered in tablet or dose form. These data have not been presented in previous Home Office publications.

9. As noted in earlier Home Office publications, referring to the total amount of methadone seized in terms of kilograms is misleading since the majority of seizures involve methadone in the 1g/ml liquid. Earlier publications converted the liquid to kilograms. This is problematic in that assumptions are made about concentration and the differences in method of how the drug is weighed across police areas. The amounts given in this bulletin are those reported in liquid form. No conversions have been applied although a supplementary table exists ( table 21) which records the quantity of additional methadone that was seized and weighed.

10. A number of changes to drug classifications have occurred during the time period presented. Cannabis was reclassified on 29 January 2004 from class B to class C and methylamphetamine was reclassified in January 2007 from class B to A. For the purposes for this publication, cannabis is classified as class C and methylamphetamine is classified as class A for all years.

11. In 2006/07, Central Police Force coded both 'Diazapam / Nitrozapam' and 'Temazepam' under Benzodiazepines and it was not possible to do separate analyses for Temazepam as in the previous year.

12. Comparisons to previous Home Office publications show differences in quantity seized, especially in some class A drugs. This is the result of duplicate records which were discovered during data preparation for the first publication. Confirmation of the correct data was sought from police forces and the duplicate records were removed before the analysis in both of the publications.

13. Although care is taken in completing and analysing the returns used to compile the figures in this bulletin, the figures are subject to the inaccuracies of any large scale recording system involving different organisations. So that the reliability of data could be ensured, a reconciliation exercise was conducted where each police force or authority was asked to check their own data and supply revised figures where necessary during the data analysis stage of this publication.

14. In all tables reporting quantities of drugs seized ( Table 5 to 7 and 15 to 20) a period indicates that there were no weighed seizures in that category.