PCVC Ron Hogg with key speakers at the International Drug Symposium in Durham
A report published today by Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner, Ron Hogg, reveals that of the 200 delegates at an international symposium held in Durham, 97% would support a full independent review of drug policy if it were commissioned by the Government. The delegates included politicians and leaders from a wide range organisations in the public and charity sectors, and a number of people recovering from drug or alcohol addiction.
The report is a synopsis of the views of the many expert speakers at the symposium, which Ron Hogg organised. He said “I’ve been in policing for over 30 years. I’ve spoken to the distraught families who have lost loved ones, and I’ve seen the control which organised crime gangs have over the lives of some very vulnerable people. The current legislation has created an environment in which organised crime can flourish and can actively exploit people. Despite all the efforts that we’ve seen to reduce supply and demand, drug misuse continues.”
Speaking at the symposium, Rose Humphries, who lost two sons to drugs, said “I hope we can help to influence policy to prevent other parents having to hear the worst news any parent can hear, the thing most parents don’t even want to think about, the tears, and the grief of having to arrange their child’s funeral. That’s why I want legal regulation of drugs”.
Madame Ruth Dreifuss former President of Switzerland and Chair of the Global Commission on drugs, advocates that states take control of drugs to stop the criminal market. She said “what’s so important is changing the perception that people have of drugs and the role of the police. It’s really building the ground for other steps to be taken such as the decriminalisation of possession of drugs. Ultimately, the law needs to change and adapt to the real needs of people and society at large.”
The report comes out shortly after a debate in the House of Commons led by Craig Mackinlay, Conservative MP for South Thanet, in which speakers for all the main political parties indicated support for a new approach to drugs policy in the UK.
The report, ‘UK Drug Policy: More Harm Than Good? Symposium Report’, is available on Ron Hogg’s website at http://www.durham-pcc.gov.uk/Document-Library/Policing-Priorities/Drugs/Symposium-Synopsis-final.pdf
The official record of the debate in Parliament about drug addiction, on 22 November, can be found at: https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2017-11-22/debates/0349B251-F2B9-4143-83DE-9FC417063BA1/DrugAddiction
Posted on Tuesday 5th December 2017