More than 100 visits have been undertaken in the north-east to tackle cuckooing issues in the region.
A new report on community justice which is due to be discussed by Aberdeenshire Council’s Integration Joint Board on Friday shows the efforts made by Police Scotland and local authority workers on the issue.
A total of 111 visits have taken place, 61 of these carried out by community justice substance misuse services and housing staff, 38 involving police, and 12 by a mixture of all three departments and organisations.
Cuckooing is the name given to a crime involving drug dealers taking over the home of a vulnerable person in order to use it as a base for county lines drug trafficking.
The report said that county lines drug dealing – the movement of drugs into smaller, rural communities – and cuckooing has had a significant impact in Aberdeenshire, most notably in the Buchan corner, which resulted in the initiative Operation Corner being launched in October 2018.
Last year, on the anniversary of the launch, a week-long operation was undertaken which included targeted enforcement activity.
The report said: “The involvement of Community Justice Substance Misuse Services in cuckooing work has enabled quicker access into services for individuals. For example, the involvement of the community justice substance misuse worker in the anniversary activity in October/November 2019 meant that assessments for entering substance misuse services could be completed at the same time that the warrants were being executed, resulting in most individuals who wanted support being put on to a script (medication to help people come off drugs) within a matter of days.
“These clinical pathways are now well established and embedded into local practice.
“The importance of building up trust and being able to identify unusual behaviours was highlighted as an important factor, and that utilising the same workers had helped with this.
“The findings from the anniversary activity and ongoing cuckooing activity will now be used to inform future joint approaches during financial year 2020/21.”