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MPs examine criminal justice approach to drugs

28 June 2019

Drugs charities and police forces give evidence to the Scottish Affairs Committee on the effectiveness of the criminal justice system for tackling problem drug use.

Impact of criminal justice sanctions

In the fifth session for its inquiry into problem drug use in Scotland, the Scottish Affairs Committee will examine whether criminal justice interventions – such as custodial sentences and criminal records – are an effective method of addressing problem drug use. In the first panel, the Committee will question drugs charities on the real-life impacts criminal sanctions can have and assess whether imprisonment is an effective deterrent or a barrier to recovery.


In the second panel, the Committee will ask a member of the Government's Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs why the Home Office appears to have repeatedly ignored expert advice to liberalise drug laws. The Committee will also hear how Thames Valley Police and Durham Police have introduced de facto decriminalisation through diversion schemes, in which people caught in possession of small amounts of drugs are directed towards treatment instead of facing criminal prosecution. The Committee will then question Police Scotland on what it is doing to combat drug trafficking, and whether similar approaches could prove effective in Scotland.


Tuesday 2 July 2019, Room 8, Palace of Westminster

At 10.15am - Sector groups:

  • Dave Liddell, CEO, Scottish Drugs Forum
  • Martin Powell, Transform Drug Policy Foundation
  • Jim Duffy, Law Enforcement Action Partnership UK

At 11.15am - Police bodies:

  • Professor Alex Stevens, University of Kent; Advisory Council on Misuse of Drugs
  • Assistant Chief Constable Steve Johnson, Police Scotland
  • Detective Chief Inspector Jason Kew, Drugs Policy Lead, Thames Valley Police
  • Ron Hogg, Police and Crime Commissioner, Durham Police

Further information

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