New ‘tactics’ for drug policy

The UK Drug Policy has suggested that new measures are need to access the impact of police approaches to tackling drugs. They are needed so that operations are judged on real benefits to communities, not simply arrests and seizures.

The police should focus on new innovative ways of tackling drug dealers in neighborhoods that face the highest levels of crime. Instead of focusing on arresting dealers, kicking down the doors and seizing drugs, it is suggested that the Police take steps to understand the full scale and nature of the harms caused by drugs, like anti-social behavior, such as gun violence, sexual exploitation of children or their use as lookouts. 

The new tactics should ensure that addicted users get treatment and support in addition to forcing dealers out of residential areas.

Critics will argue that the proposed tolerant tactics will allow the dealers the ‘freedom’ to distribute drugs without ‘fear’ in the community. 

The Chief Constable of Humberside said “at the same time we are seeking ways to tackle more robustly the higher level drugs markets that cross force boundaries and which are exploited by serious organized Criminals.”

Roger Howard, Chief Executive of the UKDPC who produced the report, said ‘‘To do this means having a much bigger picture of the harms being created and much better evaluation of the real impact and value for money of enforcement.” 

David Bolt, Director of Intelligence for the Serious Organized Crime Agency, said  “to succeed in reducing the harm caused to the UK by the drugs trade we need an intelligent combination of traditional law enforcement alongside new and innovative approaches“. 

In a survey of 400 police officers 90% of them answered that it was unlikely that established UK drug markets will be eradicated in the foreseeable future. While only 21% agreed that that current targets for enforcement agencies including the traditional role of arresting as many dealers as possible ‘are a good measure of the impact they have on drug related harms’.

It is clear to me that applying the approach in one community will result in a cut in crime, however this will encourage crime in other communities. Allowing an open door to drug dealers and burglars to ramp about. Some might say we need a change while others would say it won’t make any difference. I think that the police needs this new tactic to crack down on crime and create a sense of safety, making the streets a safer place once again, building bridges with the community in faith and trust. I think ACPO and the SOCA may succeed in catching the main drug ‘kingpins’ if they gather their intelligence from a trusting community.