More needs to done to tackle “middle class drug taking” says PCC

Tuesday, September 10th, 2019 10:40pm

By Christian Barnett - Local Democracy Reporting Service

The region’s police and crime commissioner has said more should be done to challenge the view that “middle-class drug taking” does not have an impact on serious crime.

West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion said the recreational use of cocaine and cannabis is often seen as “non-impactive” despite it being connected to gangs and a long list of violent crimes.

The admission came following a suggestion that West Mercia Police could highlight the real impact buying drugs on a weekend has on organised crime gangs and serious crime.

Police figures show 70 per cent of organised crime gangs in West Mercia are involved in the drug trade.

Mr Campion said many recreational drug users often do not see themselves as addicts or see their offending as having an impact around criminal behaviour.

He said: “The supply of that drug would be linked to serious and organised crime. That drug has probably been inside somebody, that person might not have wilfully taken that drug inside them to be transported to the area to which it is being procured in,” he told the police and crime panel at a meeting at County Hall on Tuesday (September 10).

“It is likely there is other criminality including serious acquisitive crime and indeed things like violent taking of vehicles from people’s homes.

“And so that message out to the public that what you think is a laugh on a Saturday night or in a private setting has enormous consequences for those that are involved.

“There is also some academia that shows around the escalation of drug-taking around the recreational side and I don’t think enough is being done.”

Councillor Adam Kent suggested the police and crime commissioner could use a drink-driving-style social media campaign to highlight crimes connected with buying drugs.

He said: “Does the person that is buying recreational cocaine or cannabis, are they really aware of the effect of that purchase and the knock on it has on that pyramid below it, fuelling car crime, theft, aggravated burglary and all the other issues that we invariably seem to be fuelled by the drugs trade.”

The number of drug-related deaths in West Mercia has increased by 30 per in the last decade, exceeding the number of deaths from road traffic collisions.

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