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Last Updated: Thursday, 16 February 2006, 08:55 GMT
Concern over drug quantity plans
Seven grams of heroin is the level set for personal use
Home Office proposals for the amount of drugs that can be defined as being for personal use are "unrealistic", according to police in Scotland.

The government consultation paper aims to set a consistent level which defines the difference between those considered drug users and dealers.

Leading drugs squad officers said many of the levels set were too high.

However, some drugs agencies said higher levels could reduce the numbers of drug users imprisoned needlessly.

Personal use

In court, being found with a "personal amount" of drugs will usually result in a fine, while "dealing" leads to almost certain imprisonment.

The Home Office has defined the limit on heroin for personal use as 7g.

Drugs officers want the limit set at 2g.

There is also concern about the limits set for personal use of cannabis by the Home Office, which are double those recommended by police in Scotland.

The Home Office consultation ends in early March.

In Scotland the levels which are suggested within the report are exorbitant
Graeme Pearson
SDEA director

Detective Sergeant Kenny Simpson, of Strathclyde Police's drug squad, said: "7g of heroin does not look much, but on the streets of Glasgow this amount could produce 70 of the most common street deals, which is a 10 bag.

"The Home Office consultation document suggests this is a level that might be for someone's personal use.

"Our position is very clearly that this is far in excess of what someone would normally have for their personal use."

Graeme Pearson, director of the Scottish Drug Enforcement Agency (SDEA), said the Home Office report was trying to achieve consistency across the country.

He said: "It is setting levels which are too high for that consistency. In Scotland the levels which are suggested within the report are exorbitant.

"We would seek to lower the levels in order to ensure that those that deal on the streets can't operate just under the level set in the report and therefore outwith the ability of the courts to deal with them adequately."

Watch what police think of the plans

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