Hampshire crime commissioner 'welcomes' government's vow to tackle class A drug dealers

THE crime commissioner has said she welcomes the government’s latest war on drugs.

Monday, 6th December 2021, 3:17 pm
Updated Monday, 6th December 2021, 4:03 pm

Hampshire’s police and crime commissioner Donna Jones said the exploitation of young people and children forced to supply class A drugs ‘is heart breaking and must stop’.

It comes after prime minister Boris Johnson announced the government would ‘come down hard’ on dealers, speaking ahead of revealing the government’s 10-year drugs strategy.

Mr Johnson said: ‘I take the view that it is a long time really since you heard a government say that drugs – Class A drugs – are bad and bad for society, bad for opportunity, bad for kids growing up in this country.’

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Pictured is: Donna Jones. Picture: Keith Woodland (091119-107)

The Home Office said there are 300,000 heroin and crack addicts in England who are responsible for nearly half of acquisitive crime, including burglary and robbery, while drugs drive nearly half of all homicides.

The total cost to society is put at nearly £20 billion a year.

Mr Johnson said he wanted to break the cycle of arresting culprits ‘time after time’ and returning them to prison ‘again and again’ for being involved in drug-related crime, by offering the ‘humane’ option of rehabilitation.

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Reacting to the announcement, Ms Jones said: ‘I welcome the prime minister’s determination to tackle class A and all drug use across the country.

‘Gang leaders of approximately 2,000 county lines are causing harm to millions of people who take drugs casually or regularly.

‘The exploitation of young people and children in the supply and distribution of drugs is heart breaking and must stop.

‘I am committed to doing all I can to ensure Hampshire Constabulary detect and bring to justice the most dangerous of criminals in our communities and those that cause the most harm.’

Dame Carol Black, who conducted an independent review of drugs for the government, said greater change would be achieved investing in recovery than tackling criminal activity.

She said: ‘Drug dealers are very, very good at just moving their operation, of doing different things, they’re good businessmen.

‘So I think if you really want to get to grips with drugs and crime, you’ve got to be able to offer people high quality treatment and recovery.

‘We know from research that that stops criminal activity.

‘We know that if it’s high quality treatment, people stay in it and do better. And we have at the moment a broken service.’

Government said it is spending £780m ‘to rebuild (the) drug treatment system’.

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