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.