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Wednesday, 10 October, 2001, 11:05 GMT 12:05 UK
12m boost for drugs agency
Drugs raid
Police will be encouraged to share information
More money for staff and improvements in intelligence on criminal gangs is to be made available to Scotland's drug-busting agency.

The Scottish Executive, on Wednesday, announced a further 12m of funding for the Scottish Drug Enforcement Agency.

The money will also help pay for new tests to tackle drug-driving on the country's roads.

Deputy justice minister Iain Gray announced the spending boost during a visit to Paisley, where construction of the SDEA's new headquarters is under way.

Iain Gray
Iain Gray announced a 12m boost in Paisley

He said the money would lead to increased efforts by the police to "disrupt and break up drugs supply networks into Scotland's communities".

Mr Gray said the recent Scotland-wide Know the Score campaign had produced successful results and he praised the work of the SDEA during its first year in operation.

"There is little doubt that across Scotland drug pushers are now feeling the heat of increased police action," he said.

"Last month SDEA Director Jim Orr gave details of big jumps in seizures and arrests during the Know the Score campaign.

"I believe we're starting to put the dealers on the back foot, but we cannot underestimate their determination to make a profit from people's misery."

Ecstasy tablets
Ecstasy is among the drugs seized by the DEA

The minister went on: "The SDEA has been at the heart of the police's efforts to crack down on drugs crime.

"In its first year its own operations led to the disruption or dismantling of 50 criminal gangs.

"Its also been at the forefront of closer co-operation by law enforcement agencies to target key drugs criminals."

Mr Gray said the SDEA had been set tough targets for the next year and that the funding boost would help to that end.

Some 6m will be used to recruit towards its target of 200 officers and 5.5m will be spent on technology with a focus on intelligence for both the police and SDEA.

Heroin packages
Activists say heroin is still flooding communities

Mr Gray said it was important that police forces could share information on drug dealers, and all forces will be helped to access a new national database.

The executive is also making available 350,000 extra to the police over the next three years to allow the police to analyse more drug-driving samples.

Executive research was published research in February this year which found that one in 10 people in Scotland under 40 has driven under the influence of illegal substances.

See also:

02 Jul 01 | Scotland
Drugs agency nets 17.5m haul
04 Jun 01 | Scotland
Pre-teens held during drugs swoops
01 Jun 00 | Scotland
Drugs 'middle men' targeted
25 Feb 00 | Scotland
Drug chief issues warning
20 Jan 00 | Scotland
More cash for drugs battle
18 Aug 99 | Scotland
Scottish drugs agency move
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