Comment by NDPA:
The following article represents a worrying deterioration in policing of drug offenders. When the government were sold the idea of reclassifying cannabis it was said to be so that police time could be focused on class A drugs such as cocaine, ecstasy and heroin. . Now we are being told that they are softening their focus on cocaine and ecstasy, but without explanation and – very tellingly – (as reported in the article below) without any public discussion It was only a couple of days ago that the Government said it was considering a proposal to roll out nationally a pilot scheme in Nottinghamshire county which used a much higher level of cautioning for possession than formerly – and applying this not just to cannabis but to all drugs. At a stroke, Nottinghamshire, which had been amongst the worst forces for clear up rates for drug offences, vaulted to being the best in the country. Intriguingly, their claimed clear up rate for the past year was ‘103%’ ! What a great scam – make possession of drugs legal and have less crime .. .. .. .. .. .. .. does this mean that there will be less use of drugs ? We think not.
All in all, Uk drug policy seems to be coming apart at the seams. Prevention of drug use is nowhere to
be seen, for education read harm reduction and if you want to beat crime, legalise it.
Cocaine cautions soar after police tread softly-softly
POLICE are adopting a “softly-softly” approach to the recreational use of cocaine as the latest Government figures reveal that offences involving the class A drug hit a record level last year.
An analysis of the figures shows the number of cocaine possession crimes in which offenders were handed only a caution has almost quadrupled.
The surge in the use of cautions has come at the same time as Home Office ministers have been emphasising that the Government’s policy is to clamp down hard on Class A drug misuse.
The Liberal Democrats said that the figures showed that the middle classes were escaping with no more than a “slap on the wrist” for being caught with cocaine, the stimulant of choice. Anti-drugs campaigners said the figures indicated that the police were now less interested in “busting” people for the recreational use of drugs such as cocaine and Ecstasy.
Annual drug offender figures published yesterday indicate a much softer approach being taken to two Class A drugs used recreationally in clubs, discos and at middle-class dinner parties.
Last year, almost four out of ten cocaine possession cases resulted in the offender being given a caution by police and having the drug confiscated compared with just 11% three years ago. A similar number of Ecstasy possession cases resulted in a caution last year compared with 35% in 2001.
The number of cannabis possession cases which ended in a caution remained largely stable at about 50%. The huge increase in cautions was disclosed in Home Office figures showing a 16% increase in cocaine offences in England and Wales last year.
Overall, Class A drug offences, including heroin, cocaine and other hard drugs, hit a peak of 36,350. The number of cocaine offences rose from 6,970 to 8,070. Drug offences overall fell by 21% to 105,570, because of the reclassification of cannabis.
The rise in cautions to deal with possession of cocaine and Ecstasy surprised drug charities. They said that it indicated that police were taking a more relaxed attitude to the recreational use of both drugs. Danny Kushlick, of Transform, a drug charity, said: “It is a high figure but this shows that police recognise the extent of recreational drug use and the resources they have to deal with it.
“This is a policing issue. They could spend all their time just busting people in possession of drugs and tying themselves up in paperwork.
“Most cocaine users are likely to be recreational users and it is really not worth bothering with them as they do not need treatment.”
The rise in the use of cautions has occurred without any public discussion. The Government has emphasised however, that its policy is to concentrate of Class A drugs likely to cause most harm and those which fuel crime. Britain is now top of the European league table for cocaine abuse and is fast approaching levels seen in America, according to the EU drug agency. Nearly 12% of all young adults under the age of 35 in Britain have tried the drug at least once.
But the arrival of cocaine as the “stimulant drug of choice” for many young Europeans is bringing a growing death toll and health problems as it spreads from middle-class dinner tables to council estates.
Mark Oaten, the Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman, said that the country was moving into a “cocaine culture” which would not be helped by the high use of cautions. He said: “It looks like the police are bowing to political pressure to arrest more cocaine users, but don’t have the resources to take people to court.”
- Class A drug, usually sniffed and sometimes injected, raises body temperature and heartbeat
- Used by Queen Victoria and Sigmund Freud, who wrote enthusiastically about its properties
- User feels alert, confident and sociable, but also at risk of irritability, anxiety and panic attacks
- Crack is cocaine baked into a “rock” and usually smoked, producing an intense, short-lived high
- Cocaine suppresses appetite: regular use can damage nasal passages, make users vulnerable to malnutrition, lead to heart problems, depression and psychosis
- World sales generate an estimated £60 billion
Source: Times online Dec. 2005