Situating Gangs within Scotland’s Illegal Drugs Market(s)

Robert McLean, James Densley, Ross Deuchar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)
5 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

The Scottish government’s (2008) publication ‘The road to recovery: A new approach to tackling Scotland’s drug problem’ elaborates and outlines the Scottish National Party’s (SNP) desire to make Scotland ‘drug free’ by 2019. To achieve this objective, the Scottish Government’s (2015) ‘Serious Organised Crime Strategy’ (SSOCS) entails dismantling networks of drug supply. Yet missing from this strategic planning is a) recognition of how, if at all, different types of gangs are involved in drug supply, and b) how drug supply processes actually work. Therefore, this article seeks to extend McLean’s (J Deviant Behav, 2017) Scottish gang model, which specifies a typology of gangs in Scotland, in an effort to locate precise levels of gang involvement in the drugs market. This is achieved by drawing upon Pearson and Hobbs’ (2001) hierarchical model of the UK’s illegal drug(s) market. In-depth interviews with 35 offenders involved in criminal networks and five practitioners, indicate that recreational Youth Street Gangs are really only involved in ‘social supply’. Youth Criminal Gangs are primarily involved in commercially motivated dealing at the low- to mid-levels, including bulk-buying between the retail-to-wholesale markets. And enterprising Serious Organised Crime Gangs operate from the middle-to-apex market level. Conclusions which situate this gang typology within the illegal drug market(s) are used to put forward recommendations aimed at dismantling of drug supply networks.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)147-171
Number of pages24
JournalTrends in Organized Crime
Volume21
Issue number2
Early online date19 Dec 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2018

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