It’s hard not to come to the conclusion, when you see stories like this, that Merseyside Police should suffer even more budget cuts. They’ve obviously got more money than they know what to do with.
This Friday, mobile cocaine-sniffing devices will be employed throughout the city intent on, er, sniffing out personal users of the substance – to ban them from the city centre, and banish them to an eight week drug rehabilition course.
How wrong-headed, nonsensical and counter-productive of them. The harm of so-called ‘get tough’ policies is well documented, but taking drugs units to the streets to ‘punish’ seasonal revelers is akin to locking up someone who has a flutter at Aintree, but is well aware of the dangers of gambling.
Wonder how much this is all costing us, eh?
We’re not condoning, or decrying recreational drug use: but we do know opportunist headline grabbing projects when we see them. And we also know, lest it need repeating, that the ‘misery’ and ‘violence’ they’re seeking to eradicate won’t come from office workers having a few cheeky lines from the sloping cistern shelves of town. It’ll come from the Happy Hours, the 2-for-1’s and the ‘buy two glasses, get the rest of the bottle free’ offers from our friendly licenced premises. Statistically, that’s where most domestic violence, street crime and Christmas misery originates. But it’s not what generates the best copy for hysterical newspaper stories.
But, of course, targeting Wetherspoons is a far more tricky police procedure than targeting Stacey from accounts, isn’t it? They’re big, powerful, and – probably – members of the same Masonic Lodge.
The Echo quotes Liverpool Area Commander, Jon Ward, as saying “We know that this Friday will certainly be a busy night for our region’s pubs, clubs and bars and we want people to come into our city and enjoy themselves.”
By how, exactly, Jon? Skipping through the Christmas Market’s Cocaine-sniffing cottages and creating yet more invasions of our already compromised personal liberty?
Any sensible person knows that this ‘crack-down’ (pardon the pun) will do absolutely nothing to reduce drug use, help those with drug dependency issues, or start to tackle the shit in our society that makes people want to take drugs to escape from it all for an evening.
But, again, that takes more than a sniffer dog and a rubber glove. It takes compassion, empathy and courage.
Happy Christmas, Merseyside Police. We bet you’re wishing for a white one.