20 Sep Savage Murder Of Police Heroines A Direct Result Of Prohibition

Nicola Hughes and Fiona Bone

The terrible tragedy that unfolded in Manchester this week shows how even police officers are often victims of the great immoral evil that is prohibition.

Every society needs rules and police to enforce them. The police should be our friends, not our enemies but prohibition, unlike any other law, sets the police against the communities they are supposed to protect.

What is certain is that these two brave women, simply doing their duty, were killed by members of an organised crime gang and organised crime is almost universally built on the vast profits to be gained from drugs by exploiting the huge prices that prohibition creates. I don’t know whether the murderers of PCs Bone and Hughes were drug dealers but I am sure they won’t be far removed from the trade.

“The police are the people and the people are the police”

Sir Robert Peel, founder of the Metropolitan Police.

Yet that wise principle goes out of the window when the duty of a police officer is to enforce a law without the consent of the community. It is self-evident that the community does not consent to the prohibition of cannabis by the huge and consistent demand for it. The policy is an attempt to impose criminal sanctions for behaviour that is deemed unacceptable without any rational or evidential basis. All experts agree that cannabis is many times safer than the dangerous, harmful, addictive and “legal” drugs, tobacco and alcohol. The law is enforced at the behest of the alcohol industry, the tabloid press and with the acquiescence of weak, corrupt politicians.

Cannabis is becoming linked with increasing levels of violence and gun crime but it would be the same were it basil or nutmeg that lawmakers had arbitrarily decided to ban. The harms are not caused by cannabis but by the laws against it and in the process the law causes massively more harm than it prevents, exactly the same as alcohol prohibition in the US was the original cause of gangsterism.

The recent outburst from Merseyside’s Assistant Chief Constable Andy Ward about cannabis and gun crime shows just how seriously current cannabis policy is failing. The government policy of prohibition is directly responsible for the growth of illicit cannabis farms, human trafficking, gang warfare, gun crime and now the horrendous, dreadful deaths of two young women, innocents manipulated into danger by the perverse and irresponsible policies of their political masters. It is sickening to see the despicable Theresa May grandstanding over these women’s graves when it is she and her appalling policy that led to their deaths.

There are vital lessons here for drugs policy in general. Prohibition is proven to be an absolute failure. Even more so when it come to dangerous drugs such as alcohol, heroin and cocaine, prohibition always causes far more harm than it prevents.

It is quite literally crazy for Andy Ward to think that continuing to try and stop people using cannabis is ever going to work. We consume more than three tonnes of cannabis in Britain every day. If you prohibit something for which there is a huge demand then the price goes up. The harder you try to stamp it out, the higher the price climbs. The higher the price climbs the more unscrupulous are the people who get involved in it. Crack down hard and soon violence, guns and human trafficking become part of the picture. Crack down harder and the situation gets even worse….

It is useless for Andy Ward to call for penalties to be higher. This is a futile and ridiculous charade. We spend more than £500 million each year on the criminal justice system for cannabis alone and the annual cost of prohibition of class A drugs is said to be in excess of £15 billion.

We really need to start facing the facts. It is the alcohol industry that has really been responsible for more than 40 years of disinformation and deceit about cannabis. Successive governments, encouraged by the Daily Mail, have been complicit in this conspiracy of self-interest.

The narrative that Andy Ward and other police officers are now developing about cannabis is false, misleading and dangerous. It is a cover up of the truth with the connivance of other public bodies in exactly the same way and just as efficiently as the cover up of the Hillsborough disaster. What is really tragic is that by supporting and encouraging this misinformation, ACC Ward is placing his own officers in greater danger and contributing towards the culture of organised crime and violence.

The only rational way forward is to tax and regulate cannabis. We must take responsibility for this £6 billion market and stop trying to deny its existence. Trying to sweep it under the carpet creates more harm. Cannabis should be available to adults only through licensed outlets and it should be tested and labelled to show its contents, at least THC and CBD levels.

Prohibition is a cancer in our society. Supporting this policy is supporting organised crime. I remember in 2010 a police officer involved in a cannabis raid had both arms nearly severed by falling glass. Now we have the appaling deaths in Manchester. What ludicrous system is it that puts citizen against citizen like this, and endangers life on all sides?

The riots of 2011 had prohibition at their root. Mark Duggan, whose death ignited the trouble, was a crack dealer, a substance that only exists because of prohibition, just as alcohol prohibition invented high strength “hooch”. The riots developed out of resentment towards increased stop and search, nearly all of which is about trying to catch people in possession of small quantities of cannabis for personal use.

There are, of course, police officers who have seen the light: Tom Lloyd, the ex-chief constable of Cambridgeshire, Richard Brunstrom, ex-chief constable of North Wales. There is the estimable international organisation Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP). Unfortunately, myopic, dinosaur attitudes are in the majority as exhibited by Andy Ward and, even more dangerously, by the Metropolitan Police commissioner, Bernard Hogan-Howe.

God rest the souls of Fiona Bone and Nicola Hughes. Politicians and senior police officers need to wake up and get a grip on reality. The disastrous policy of prohibition is destroying the relationship between police and public, promoting organised crime and creating unnecessary danger and violence in our society.