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Bob Wylie reports
"Figures show that many forces are failing to meet their targets for arrests"
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Monday, 14 May, 2001, 13:23 GMT 14:23 UK
Forces unite in drugs goal
Ecstasy tablets
Police forces are co-ordinating their approach
Scotland's police forces have combined to launch what they have called their biggest ever drive against drug abuse.

They said the campaign includes police operations against drug dealers and initiatives on education and prevention.

Figures obtained by BBC Scotland have indicated that so far Strathclyde Police is leading the campaign with many forces making less arrests for drug offences than they were two years ago

Jim Orr
Jim Orr: Collective effort
The Know The Score campaign was launched by the Association of Chief Police Officers Scotland (Acpos).

Ahead of the campaign's formal launch, police seized drugs with a street value of 1.77m and charged 490 suspected dealers.

Deputy Justice Minister Iain Gray, welcomed the initiative.

He said: "A safer, healthier Scotland is a top priority for us all.

"That's why when the Scottish Executive set targets recently to cut the supply and demand for drugs, I called for them to become targets for everyone in Scotland.

"The Know The Score campaign shows the positive response."

Behind targets

Acpos said that in the coming months there would be a host of different intitiatives to combat drug abuse including special education events.

So far the campaign has been spearheaded by five weeks of covert police operations against local drug dealers.

BBC Scotland had obtained figures for these operations which show that the country's biggest force, Strathclyde, is making more drug arrests than two years ago but many forces are behind targets.

A comparison was drawn between arrests made by the forces in 1999 and those made during the first four weeks of the new campaign.

The number of arrests had increased in Strathclyde but forces including Grampian, Fife and Lothian and Borders were making less drug arrests per week

However, the director of the Scottish Drug Enforcement Agency, Jim Orr, said it was too early to draw conclusions.

He said: "Over the next three months it will be a matter for individual chief constables to be accountable for their individual performance.

"What I don't want to do is to deflect today's launch talking about individual performance, it's a collective responsibility."

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