SOUTH Yorkshire Police’s Chief Constable has spoken out against the prospect of laws around illegal drugs being relaxed – saying issues surrounding so-called ‘legal highs’ have already demonstrated the problems such a move would cause.
The Chief Constable, David Crompton, set out his thoughts on the issue in a letter to The Star after the Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, called for a rethink on the Government’s policy on drugs.
He said ‘legal highs’ – plant food chemicals which mimic amphetamines and cocaine – had given police ‘plenty of experience’ of drugs on the streets.
“They are often the drug of choice for young people – and misuse results in greater crime and disorder for the police to deal with, not less,” said Chf Con Crompton.
“These substances can cause fits and stomach ulcers and they are supplied via criminal gangs who have seen a money-making opportunity and are exploiting it.”
He continued: “I am also well aware that the public attitude towards cannabis has changed.
“Society is more tolerant of its use than before. Nevertheless, modern-day cannabis is up to three times stronger than varieties available 10 to 15 years ago and there is a proven link to psychiatric disorder among users, many of whom tend to be young.
“Furthermore, the link between organised crime and cannabis cultivation is a strong one.”
Chf Con Crompton said he didn’t think alcohol’s widespread availability should be used as an excuse to relax drug laws.
“I often hear it said that alcohol is both legal and commonly available, therefore logically this makes out the case for legalising certain other drugs.
“Frankly, my officers don’t see any evidence whatsoever that the damage done to society by alcohol is decreasing. I suspect colleagues in the NHS would also agree.
“So why risk making these problems worse by removing the deterrent for misusing drugs?”
He added: “Decriminalisation of drugs gets debated every few years and we are now urged to consider adopting Portugal’s policy of decriminalisation.
“Any decision about this rests firmly with politicians. Police officers are paid to enforce the law, not make it.”
Nick Clegg has committed the Liberal Democrats to promising a review of Britain’s drugs strategy in its 2015 election manifesto.
What people have been saying online:
“The current strategy just is not working, there will always be a massive demand and it is breaking the country’s back. This needs to be dealt with as a health issue. Legalise and take away the money issue and crime will drop dramatically.”
“If drugs are to be legalised, then there needs to be an addendum that anyone using drugs will not be entitled to claim benefits and NHS treatment due to their inability to work due to the use of those drugs.”
“It’s time for change, time to catch up with the rest of the world! The UK is one of the worst offenders for the drug cartels, it’s time we take responsibility and legalise cannabis.”
“We need to take the control away from criminals. Undercutting prices and bringing cannabis into a regulated market will see a decline in criminals selling it and children buying it. Prohibition has always done the opposite of what its meant to. It’s a failed experiment.”
“Cannabis should be legalised because it has medical benefits. Also, I and many others would like to smoke cannabis in the privacy of our own homes without the fear of the police breaking down our front doors. In a perfect world I would like to open an Amsterdam-style coffee shop.”
“Why do people feel the need to take drugs? Are their lives really that empty that they have to escape into a world of illusion?”
Jake Stanley Evans
“Our present policy on cannabis is irrational, irresponsible and dangerous. Surely, this inevitable and long-overdue reform will now begin to roll out across the world. If we introduced a legally regulated system we would solve nearly all the problems around cannabis. Science proves how much safer it is than tobacco.”
Do you think illegal drugs should be decriminalised? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org