The day police told Parliament to end the war on drugs

Suzanne Sharkey is a former constable and undercover officer at Northumbria Constabulary

Suzanne Sharkey is a former constable and undercover officer at Northumbria Constabulary
Friday, 11 March 2016 9:31 AM

By Simon Oxenham

Last week Neil Franklin, a retired major from Marylyn State Police, led a troop of serving and former police chiefs, soldiers and a former spy into the Parliament to call MPs to end the war on drugs. Their testimony was damning and revealing.

Franklin opened the meeting with an explanation of the campaign’s mission to “reduce crime, disease, death and addiction by ending the most socially destructive public policy since slavery.” Franklin explained how his organisation of “police officers, agents, judges, criminal prosecutors, corrections officials and others” including over 180,000 members and supporters in over 180 countries share one goal, to end “the world’s longest war”.

According to Franklin “we have been attempting to solve a public health crisis with criminal justice solutions and the results have been catastrophic”. While repeated calls from academia and public health have failed to convince most politicians, the group hopes calls from within the criminal justice system will finally make them listen. What follows are all direct quotes, edited for concision.

Suzanne Sharkey (pictured above): Former Constable and Undercover Officer at Northumbria Constabulary

“When I look back at my time in the police I feel ashamed, I feel a sense of failure. I feel ashamed that I wasn’t arresting career criminals. I was arresting people from poor socially deprived areas with little or no hope whose crime was non-violent drug possession, a complete failure of the war on drugs. I believe that one of the biggest barriers for people with problematic substance misuse to seeking help and treatment is the current drug policy. It does nothing, it achieves nothing except creating more harm for individuals, families and society as a whole. All of us know the problems and what we need to do but rather than be united by the problems let’s be united by the solutions. Solutions based in health, education and compassion rather than criminalisation.”

PCC Ron Hogg: serving police and crime commissioner for Durham spoke alongside Mike Barton, the chief constable of Durham police force. The pair made headlines last year for effectively decriminalising small-scale cannabis growers and users in Durham.

“We are very clear in our view in Durham constabulary that the war has failed, that it won’t succeed and it never will succeed and we have to change our views and the way we approach things. The whole purpose of a drugs policy must be to minimise the harms that drugs cause to individuals and to our communities and optimise the benefits that drugs can bring.

“Heroin and crack cocaine addiction is responsible for 43% of acquisitive crime. Responsible for 33% of fraud as people commit crimes to feed their habits. This appears to many to be a satisfactory situation, we don’t think that’s the way things should be going forward. That’s why we’ve taken a stand in Durham. We’ve put our heads above the parapet to produce new ways of tackling drug and alcohol addiction.

“As we dismantle one organised crime group there’s another one ready to come and take its place but what you do find is the levels of violence and organisation tends to increase incrementally as we go forward. So we really have to break the cycle if we’re going to do something significant.”

Annie Machon – Former Mi5 Officer tasked with investigating terrorist logistics

“I first came to the knowledge that the war on drugs was an abject failure when I was working as an intelligence officer at Mi5 in the 1990s. One of my tasks was to investigate terrorist logistics and to do this I worked very closely with customs and excise, both the national investigations division and at ports. During that time I learned from them that even at that time they viewed the war on drugs as unwinnable. I learned about the massive overlap in funding between the illegal drugs trade and terrorist organisations, and this is global not just in Northern Ireland in the 1990s. We see this time and time again, in Afghanistan, in some of the Latin American countries where terrorist organisations are largely funded by drug money. We’ve seen most of West Africa descend into a kind of narco-state where armed militias compete for drug territory.

“On the one hand we have prohibition that pushes the war on drugs underground and creates huge conflicts globally. On the other hand we are fighting the war on terror which is largely funded by this war on drugs. So it strikes me as illogical unless it’s a very clever circular business model that has been only too successful.

“We know this is going on because bank after bank has been fined record numbers for being caught money laundering. In 2009 the sheer scale of the corruption of our banking industry became clear. In 2009 a man named Antonio Maria Costa, then head of the UN Office for Drugs and Crime went on the record saying after the financial crash of 2008, but for drug money many large international banks would not have had any cash liquidity.

“By ensuring prohibition ends we would be able to end the biggest crime wave our world has ever seen. We would be able to protect millions if not billions of people around the planet who have been ravaged not just by the drug war, crimes and the vicious violence but also by terrorist groups funded largely by this trade who continue to maim and kill around the planet too.”

Patrick Hennessy – Served as a grenadier guard officer in Iraq and Afghanistan and is now a practicing barrister.

full article and it is really a must read for anyone interested in the subject not just of drugs but war and money laundering how it funds all this

here is the link