In a firm and detailed appeal to Policing Minister Mike Penning, Derbyshire Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Charles has told him: “The war on drugs isn’t working.”
Mr Charles has written to the Minister asking him to reconsider his decision not to commission a comprehensive review of UK Drugs Policy – and support Prime Minister David Cameron’s speech back in 2002 when he welcomed the then Home Secretary’s call for an “adult debate” on drugs policy.
The Commissioner pointed out today: “Despite that support from David Cameron, in which he asked the Government not to return to retribution and war on drugs, we continue to follow exactly the same policy to this day.”
In his letter to Mr Penning, Mr Charles wrote: “In terms of death rates there has been a 64% increase in heroin and morphine related deaths in the last two years and it is at its highest rate since records began in 1996. In relation to crime rates your own recent consultation document on Police Funding recognised drugs as a key driver of crime with heroin and cocaine addiction responsible for 43% of acquisitive crime.”
He described as shocking the amount of drug related crime linked to Serious Organised Crime Groups – figures that “would certainly align to the data available in Derbyshire and in the East Midlands region.” He also pointed to “vulnerable individuals being groomed by criminal drug dealers into purchasing their dangerous products on the streets.”
Mr Charles has written to Mr Penning in response to the Minister’s letter to him, in which he details the Government approach to drug issues. Since receiving the Minister’s letter, the Commissioner has sought the views of the experts who attended his drug summit in June. Those views fuel Mr Charles belief that there would be public support and the support of professionals involved in drug treatment, policing, health and education for a UK drugs policy review.
He reminded the Minister that the delegates at his drug summit had called for an “expert-led comprehensive review of policy that looks at all areas of drug policy including those adopted around the world.” They were not, he said, calling for any specific outcome such as legislation or decriminalisation.
To see the Commissioner’s letter in full go to the PCC’s website on: www.derbyshire-pcc.gov.uk
Media Enquiries: Sallie Blair 01283 821012 / 07702 541401
Posted on Monday 9th November 2015