Middle class drug use isn't harmless fun, says PCC
The Government’s 10 year drug strategy which outlines new measures to tackle county lines which are said to be ‘driving crime’ has been backed by Wiltshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC).
Philip Wilkinson is clear that the scourge of drugs within our communities is one that the police cannot tackle alone, and whilst enforcement plays an important role, we need to reduce demand by increased deterrent measures, and just as important is rehabilitation and education.
“I have said before that Wiltshire is not a soft option for those who choose to blight our county with illegal drugs and these new measures, and funding commitments, from the Government will mean that not only will those who commit drug offences be punished, but there will also be greater opportunity for them to be rehabilitated.
“Middle class drug use isn’t harmless fun, and the wider community are often left to deal with the very real consequences, including the exploitation and trafficking of children to move drugs around the country.
Measures announced include:
Expanding the use of drug testing when police make arrests
Give courts power to order drug testing of anyone serving a community sentence whose offending is related to drug use, with them liable to be resentenced to a prison term if they test positive
Use drug dealers' seized phones to contact their clients with messages to discourage drug use or direct them to support.
Increase the number of police forces who will run new schemes focused on intervening on a wide range of individuals at an early stage, such as attendance at drug awareness courses with criminal sanctions possible for those who continue to use drugs
A recent police operation in Swindon saw 15 lines disrupted and 14 people charged with drugs offences, and whilst the PCC fully backs the targeting of dealers, he also wants to see more users held to account.
“Our recent operations closed 15 different lines established by London-based dealers. In the process, we seized hundreds of packets of drugs which won’t hit Wiltshire’s streets and several dangerous weapons that can’t kill or maim our residents.
“Increased testing on arrest, and civil penalties which include fines, curfews and even the temporary removal of driving licenses or passports have my full support.
“All those who partake in the illegal drugs trade have blood on their hands, and no longer will they be able to seek benefit from the exploitation of vulnerable people.”