Nearly 100 abandoned drug driving cases involved repeat offenders

Legislation to tackle drug driving was introduced in 2019.

Nearly 100 abandoned drug driving cases involved repeat offenders iStock

Almost 100 suspected drug driving cases that did not progress to prosecution due to delays in forensic testing involved repeat offenders, it has been revealed.

It comes after the Scottish Police Authority (SPA) published statistics indicating that 384 cases between October 2019 and May this year did not progress due to the statutory 12-month time limit having been reached.

Of those 384 cases, none involved a fatality, however three involved an injury.

A written question on the issue was submitted to justice secretary Keith Brown by Scottish Conservative community safety spokesman Russell Findlay.

In his response to Findlay, Brown detailed SPA analysis that 99 of the 384 cases involved a repeat offender.

The Scottish Government has started that it has received assurance that “urgent action” is underway to address testing capacity issues.

The Conservatives have called on ministers to properly resource forensic services.

Findlay warned that those who get behind the wheel when impaired by drugs recklessly risk the safety of everyone else.

He said: “It was shocking enough when it was revealed that hundreds of drug-driving suspects snared by police were able to evade justice due to forensic delays.

“But it’s even worse now to discover, months later, that many of them were repeat offenders, that innocent people suffered injuries in two of these incidents and that 60 more such cases have also been binned.

“Those who get behind the wheel while impaired by drugs are a danger to themselves and recklessly risk the safety of everyone else.”

Findlay insisted that the Government “needs to get a grip” on the issue.

“All drug drivers should be brought to justice and that is especially true of repeat offenders,” he said.

“Law-abiding road users should feel safe and have faith in the justice system but that’s no longer the case under this incompetent SNP government which needs to get a grip before somebody is killed.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson underlined the action being taken to fund forensics and for Police Scotland.

“We fully support the enforcement efforts of Police Scotland and the SPA in tackling the scourge of drug driving, to help make Scotland’s roads safer,” they said.

“While testing falls within the remit of the SPA, we have received assurance that urgent action is underway to address the capacity issues in both the immediate and longer-term.

“The Scottish Government has provided over £1.3bn to SPA this financial year, which includes funding for SPA Forensics as well as for Police Scotland for 2022/2023.

“In recent years, we have provided £1.9m of additional funding to assist SPA Forensic Services in delivering the necessary testing for drug driving including a further £370,000 this summer.”

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