Edinburgh crime: Increase in drug supply offences in Capital far higher than in the rest of Scotland
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The number of dealers caught supplying drugs in Edinburgh has increased by more than a third in the space of a year.
New crime figures have revealed there were 491 cases of drug supplying recorded by police in the Capital in the year to September, compared to 352 the previous year –a rise of 39 per cent. The increase in such cases across Scotland in the same period was just nine per cent.
The figures also show that over a five year period, drug supply offences in Edinburgh were up by 14 per cent, while Scotland as a whole saw a 14 per cent drop.
Lothian Tory MSP Miles Briggs warned that forecast cuts in policing numbers locally would only make matters worse. He said there had been a 5.2 per cent reduction in local officer numbers in the past three years, with fears of further nationwide cuts coming down the tracks.
He said: “The supplying of drugs is a serious crime, and one that creates misery for people and communities across Edinburgh. It’s extremely worrying to see these figures hit a five-year high, and for there to have been such a notable rise in the last year.
“It’s also alarming that what’s happening in Edinburgh over the longer term seems to contrast from an improving nationwide figure. As Scotland’s capital city, it’s vital we have enough of a police presence on our streets to ensure drugs can’t simply be supplied to vulnerable people by dealers without any fear of the consequences.
“We need proper investment in our force by the Scottish Government to ensure the scourge of drugs supply is dealt with properly.”
A recent analysis by justice and social affairs publication 1919 Magazine found there had been a fall of 575 – or 4.5 per cent – in the number of police officers assigned to one of Police Scotland’s 13 local divisions, from a peak of 12,768 in March 2020 to 12,193 in June this year.
The study found police numbers in Edinburgh had fallen by 5.2 per cent between March 2020 and June 2023. Fellow Lothian Tory MSP Jeremy Balfour warned at the time that a reduced number of officers could have serious consequences. He said: "In the next budget the Scottish Government have to commit to funding more police officers for Edinburgh or we’re going to see crime going up and people feel more unsafe.”