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Modernising Drug Law Enforcement – Side Event

IDPC Law enforcement project

Mike Trace – IDPC

This law enforcement project is a joint IDPC / Chatham house / International Institute Strategic Studies project. The project aims to stimulate debate around how drug enforcement managers can deal with the challenges faced by the changes in the drug market. How do we address the harms of the drug market?

David Bewley-Taylor

This project has produced three reports so far based around law enforcement and public health approaches:

– 1st report looked police supporting harm reduction policies and practices towards people who use drugs – how its the police’s role to protect life and property, how police can engage with interventions and evidence to support these measures.

– 2nd report looks at focused deterrence and selective targeting of drug traffickers and organised crime – looks at how to better use the police force to target the most violent, and incentivise less violent behaviour, who to target within drug trafficking organisations, how monitoring is vital.

– 3rd report looks at applying harm reduction principles to policing retail drug markets – looks at how the level of harm being more important the size of the market., how the policing tactics can force drug markets to adopt less harmful forms.


New reports will focus on:

1. Practical implications and challenges of policing a tolerated cannabis market

2. Drug law enforcement, corruption and financial crime

3. Drug markets, security and foreign aid.

Formal launch 21st of march

Graham Bartlett – Chief Superintendent Sussex Police UK

Looks at the social structure in Brighton, Sussex (UK). Mixed population and bohemian town. 25 million GBP. Drug Issues in faced Brighton – high drug use and deaths, crime rates, ineffective tactics, ineffective partnerships.High levels of burglary, and violent crime – often linked to drug habits.

Launched “Operation reduction- Linking enforcement with recovery” to address these issues.

Operation was originally a crime reduction tool. All they used to do was chase the drug/crime market and did nothing around use. Weren’t joined up with health services and having no impact on drug demand.

So they formed a partnership to link treatment for use with enforcement. Used arrest referral scheme, used police intelligence to inform treatment services who were the most criminal users and targeted individuals Provided a choice that either you went into treatment or the police officer who was alongside the treatment office would address the criminal activity through punitive measures – the idea was to get them into to treatment and to get the police off their back. Proved to be an effective tool to get people into treatment.

Outcomes: referrals increased, drug deaths decreased, crime reduced and reduced offending. 540 most problematic people have been moved into treatment – combined cost of their crime estimated to be 25 million GBP. Huge reductions in overall street crime levels. Huge reductions in drug deaths – the focus on harm reduction and partnerships with treatment services proved very effective.

Olivier Gueniat – Chief of Police, Canton Jura, Switzerland.

Considerable size of Swiss drug market. Enacted a 4 pillar policy approach: Prevention, Treatment, Harm reduction, Law enforcement.

Brought significant progress. Drugs must be chased out of the social space. Needed a policy to remove cannabis from the public space and needed to confine it to the private sector. Government carried out targeted prevention, perform targeted prevention with known consumers. Increase safety in public spaces. Supply reduces and public safety improved. Since 2000, there is substitution of heroin by cocaine. Exacerbated many problems with cocaine and there’s no substitution option. Only solution is to medicalise the problem of cocaine – would reduce supply. Priorities must be rearranged, and new solutions developed


Is there any intention to bridge a gap with the financial sector around money laundering?

David Bewley Taylor –a new report will look at financial crime,  and reaching out to the financial sector will be very important in the future . drug crime is financial crime.

Are there any plans to look at the regulation (aimed at the law enforcement people)

Acceptance that there are other option, its a shame the uk government wont look at this debate. However, as a public servant you cant speak out. Its not really the role of the police force to try and change the law, however, police chiefs can change the ways they operate the system.

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