Getting a ruddy grip on Britain's drug gang problem

Following the Home Secretary's speech this morning unveiling her plan to tackle violent crime, Daniel Pryor, Head of Programmes at the Adam Smith Institute, said:

"In setting out her strategy for tackling violent crime, the Home Secretary has inadvertently made a powerful case for ending drug prohibition. Gang violence, including youth violence, is intimately connected to the illegal drugs market. You’re less likely to face violent crime purchasing alcohol in an off-licence than buying cannabis in a dark alley. Taking drugs out of the hands of gangs by legalising and regulating them would significantly reduce violent crime: putting drug dealers out of business, protecting young people (drug dealers don’t ask for ID) and destroying the black market.

Last week, David Lammy MP told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that “the police and our country has lost control of [the] drugs market,” but the truth is that they never had control in the first place. Our failed policy of prohibition undermines relations between police and communities, and leaves criminal gangs violently competing over power vacuums left in the wake of police disrupting incumbents. Get drugs into the light of the legal market. Until we do, the police will be left chasing shadows."

For further comment or to arrange an interview please contact Matt Kilcoyne (matt@adamsmith.org, 07584778207, 02072224995).