IDPC presents a new role for law enforcement

During a satellite event on Wednesday 11th March, entitled ‘A new role for law enforcement’, the International Drug Policy Consortium presented a new vision for law enforcement within the context of harm reduction. Mike Trace, the chair of the session, noted the polarised nature of the debate surrounding the role of law enforcement and the need for new thinking on this challenging issue. The speakers Professor Peter Reuter from the University of Maryland and Tom Lloyd, a former UK police chief, outlined how law enforcement can play a positive role and be more efficient, effective and reduce more harm. Traditional law enforcement has emphasised reducing the scale of the market – a costly strategy that has not yielded the desired results and that often contributes to the harms associated with drug use and markets. Law enforcement should take a more balanced approach and emphasise reducing the harmful consequences associated with drug markets. Tom Lloyd asked the question that law enforcement officials should ask themselves, ‘If your child was arrested for drug possession would you want them to be prosecuted and convicted… or guided, supported and if necessary treated?’

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