By Chris Marshall
Figures obtained by Scotland on Sunday show officers handed out a total of 5,827 Recorded Police Warnings (RPWs) in 2016/17, equivalent to roughly a fifth of all drug possession charges.
The scheme, which was introduced in January last year, is used for a range of minor offences which would previously have been reported to prosecutors and would have led to a non-court disposal or no further action being taken. However, critics have described RPWs as a “soft touch”, with the inclusion of cannabis possession particularly controversial.
“It might be the first time that person has been in trouble. I don’t think it’s appropriate that that person, if it’s been a minor piece of offending where there’s no harm to a victim, could then carry a criminal conviction for years in their life which may affect their employment possibilities, their education, their travel. If they are dealt with proportionately and fairly by Police Scotland and the justice system, then there’s perhaps a chance they won’t offend again and they can get on with their life.”
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