Drug danger lurks in our ‘safe’ Borders

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Yesterday saw one of the biggest drug-busting operations by police in the Borders.

More than 100 officers swooped on 10 properties and made 10 arrests. Court proceedings are now under way and their outcome could take some time – and so, therefore, will the success or otherwise of these raids. But what the police have confirmed is that their haul included 30 deals of the Class A drug heroin. It’s a killer.

Detectives no doubt hope that information that has now come to light will lead to other arrests. These raids were led by intelligence gathered from a variety of sources, including tip-offs from the public and over a significant period of time. They involved the NHS, Scottish Borders Council and housing agencies. All have a role to play in combating drug misuse.

The debate over decriminalisation of what many term soft drugs will go on into the distant future. At the moment, however, the use of these substances is illegal and dangerous, and prosecutors and sheriffs must take a firm stance.

But there is a feeling around that it is the small fish who are caught and prosecuted, while the big fish rarely seem to find themselves in the landing net, dock and prison cell. That may just be a perception, but there are many who believe it.

The police maintain that this region is not blighted by drugs. But our courts are regularly told how an accused would not have committed a crime – usually a violent one – had they not been on drugs.

Council leader David Parker claims the Borders is one of the safest areas in the UK. But this year already there have been two High Court convictions for killings – both involving drugs of another kind, alcohol. A third trial is under way in which evidence has been led that both accused and the dead man had spent a day on cannabis and alcohol.

We can never be too confident that this area is as safe as the authorities would have us believe.