Hawick has got a “real problem” following two heroin-related incidents in the town last month.
So said former Detective Chief Superintendent Watson McAteer who told Monday night’s Hawick Community Council meeting that he was “very, very worried” about the situation.
Commenting on the police’s February report, which revealed the heroin cases, Mr McAteer, a Scottish Borders Council councillor, continued: “We’ve got a class one drug user concerned in the supply of heroin in Hawick . . . which indicates that we’ve got a real problem and not one that we can hide from.
“Class one drugs, heroin in particular, on the streets of Hawick in one shape or another, is a serious, serious issue.
“I’d really like to know what’s going to happen, what the [police’s] plans are, and how we’re going to knock this on the head.
“Alluding to his former role, Mr McAteer added: “I’ve got a history of being involved in this kind of thing professionally, and it [the heroin] worries me.”
PC Stephen Gibson told the meeting: “It’s an ongoing issue. We know who the users are, and they’re easily identifiable. But the problem is that a rap of heroin can be smaller than a Rice Krispie and it’s really hard to find it if someone’s got it secreted on their body or clothing.
“We continually stop-search these people if we have legitimate reasons to do so. But we only catch these people through confidential intelligence, that means somebody telling us who is dealing and where they’re dealing from. These people change their locations on a daily basis, so they’re always one step in front. But we’ve got a proactive team based in Galashiels who are dedicated solely to class one drugs , and they’re only looking at the supply cases.
“The dealers don’t use drugs, and you’d be surprised who they are. But they’re not easily identifiable.”
Councillor Stuart Marshall said he had no doubt that some of the antisocial behaviour cases he was dealing with were drug-related. “It’s time there was a clean out in this town, because people just don’t know who their neighbours are,” he said.
PC Gibson added that anyone who didn’t want to speak to the police could retain their anonymity by using the Crimestoppers hotline.