PETER HITCHENS: Police gave up the fight against drugs years ago
PETER HITCHENS: The police gave up the fight against drugs years ago, and this is the result
If you looked into most of the violence in this country, you would likely find that drugs were at the bottom of it. And the lawless maiming and killing of road users by dangerous drivers is definitely a form of criminal violence.
What a contrast it is to the carefully promoted image of marijuana as a ‘harmless high’ to see the tangled metal, flames and life-ruining carnage of a road accident – and to realise that has very probably been brought about by the use of this substance.
Drug-driving is at least comparable to the knife crime that is such a terrifying problem in London and other cities. And as Rebecca Camber reports, the amount of drug-driving has now surpassed the amount of drink-driving in this country.
After almost 60 years of pretending that drugs were not really a problem, and only concerned puritan old fogeys, we find that these substances ruin and end lives.
Yet even then, the enforcement of a law against this menace is inadequate, with dangerous criminals being caught and then let off because it is a bit difficult to proceed against them.
PETER HITCHENS: The police of this country long ago decided it was not worth their while to do much about the huge and growing use of dangerous, illegal drugs. They achieved this by simply ignoring the laws they are paid to enforce. They then pretended that crime was falling, when in fact they had just stopped paying attention to it
Actually there is a much wider problem with drugs. In almost all cases of highly publicised terrorist violence, here and abroad, the culprits have been found to be users of mind-altering drugs.
This does not mean that marijuana turns people into terrorists (though in some cases it surely does). It means that in the few cases where the media spotlight is turned on the culprit’s life, there is a striking link between violence and long-term drug use.
The ceaselessly updated website ‘Attacker Smoked Cannabis’ records scores of hideous violent crimes in which allegedly peaceful marijuana has been a feature.
But – in a country far too used to such crime – such events are these days only reported locally.
Yes, alcohol is also a dangerous drug and, given the impossibility of banning it after thousands of years of legality, we should try a lot harder to control it as we did until the 1980s.
But the astonishing thing is that illegal drugs, which – on paper – attract heavy prison sentences, should be doing so much damage, while we do so little about them.
By far the best way of making our roads safer would be to do as they do in Japan and South Korea, and prosecute and punish the possession of illegal drugs. That would stop this problem at its source.
The police of this country long ago decided it was not worth their while to do much about the huge and growing use of dangerous, illegal drugs.
They achieved this by simply ignoring the laws they are paid to enforce. They then pretended that crime was falling, when in fact they had just stopped paying attention to it.
The policy started with marijuana, a highly dangerous drug whose use is linked with severe mental illness, but which years of skilful PR falsely portrayed as ‘soft’.
Then it moved on to the bogeyman drugs such as cocaine and heroin, and all the rest of these idiotic poisons. We pay the price of this police arrogance every day.
I am sorry if this upsets you. I too would much prefer to respect and admire the police.
But here’s the proof: in February 1994, the former head of Scotland Yard’s legendary Flying Squad, John O’Connor, wrote a newspaper article in which he admitted the stark truth: ‘Cannabis has been a decriminalised drug for some time now.
‘Although still illegal, somebody found by police in possession of a small amount for their own use will probably just get away with a caution these days.’
Please note again, this was in 1994. A few years later, after yet another elite ‘report’ into the drug laws (all these reports want to soften the law) this arrangement was formalised across England and Wales.
Chief police officers, without troubling to consult Parliament, invented their own ‘Cannabis Warning’, a non-punishment, not even centrally recorded, which would be applied to most cases of marijuana possession.
Not long after that, they more or less totally gave up doing anything at all, and large parts of urban Britain now reek of dope, especially in the summer months.
Are you surprised, in the light of this, that so many people drive while drugged? In 2012, in a carefully researched book, The War We Never Fought, I explained that this was a long one-way process, dating to the 1960s.
The police are not totally to blame. Politicians, civil servants, judges and magistrates have all worked together to undermine the law of the land. They do not believe drugs are really bad.
But if we want them to enforce the laws then the people of this country must reject and reverse the long liberal campaign to soften the drug laws, and make our political leaders act to ensure that the drug problem is stifled at its source – the irresponsible individuals who buy and take these poisons.
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