Not Saussure

March 30, 2007

SOCA — War on drugs a failed approach

Filed under: UK — notsaussure @ 8:20 pm

Seems that the government may have failed to discuss their thinking on further prosecuting the War on Drugs, as outlined earlier in the week in Security, crime and justice, with Sir Stephen Lander, the chairman of SOCA. The Indy apparently heard him remark — I can’t find a reference for the speech anywhere, so I’ll have to take their word for it — that the

UK’s drugs strategy is “making no difference” and needs a radical new approach.Sir Stephen Lander, the chairman of the Serious and Organised Crime Agency (Soca) – described as Britain’s answer to the FBI – admitted that when it comes to the fight against drugs “we are not winning so we must try something else as well”.

The former head of MI5 said that the traditional law enforcement approach to drugs – seizure and imprisonment – has failed to reduce the availability of illegal substances, such as cocaine and heroin, in this country.

Speaking on the first anniversary of the agency, which has a £450m budget, he said: “The criminal law as the only means of defence [against drugs] is a flawed approach. It must be – we are not winning so we must try something else. Our analysis is that the criminal law is a necessary part of the tool kit, but not a sufficient one. We have to be ambitious about making a difference.”

I hope this means he’s thinking on the same lines as the Royal Society; that is, concentrate on reducing the harm drugs do rather than stopping people taking them, and treat drug misuse as a question of public health and welfare rather than simply as one for the criminal law.

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  1. I find it so frustrating that the public (via polling), the police (via experience) and the whole justice system can see what a failure current policy is now.

    Yet the media-political matrix cannot find it in itself to proclaim this in any meaningful way. Instead they fear electoral rapproach so instead continue with the failed policy.

    A sad reflection on the state of our political and media leadership.

    Comment by cityunslicker — March 30, 2007 @ 9:27 pm

  2. Thank God the message is finally getting through…
    Time to let people be accepted as grown ups who can make their own decisions with their recreational time.

    Comment by crushed by Ingsoc — March 30, 2007 @ 10:28 pm

  3. I never thought I’d embrace such brutally elitist ideas, but I’m starting to think that the best move would be to legalise drug use for anyone who has a job.

    Comment by Flying Rodent — March 30, 2007 @ 11:57 pm

  4. Very clever really – aid, abet and facilitate the drug trade, take one’s cut, then criminalize it and rake in the fines as well as creating a new sub-class who can be hauled in or sent for cannon fodder as and when needed.

    Comment by jameshigham — March 31, 2007 @ 4:21 pm

  5. I don’t see how decriminalising the actions of individualist choices is elitist.

    Comment by Ian Grey — March 31, 2007 @ 5:50 pm

  6. we as a country should come up with a solution to the drug problem

    Comment by Kayla Parker — April 11, 2007 @ 4:03 pm

  7. schools should do as much to educate students on drugs and the conciquences fo taking them before some junkie does it the wrong way and make the student try drugs and get hooked

    Comment by Melissa Nielson — April 11, 2007 @ 4:05 pm

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