Drugs are baad...
Everyone knows this. But they don't make the headlines anymore. Not like they used to. No overdoses. No more Leah Betts's - some adverse publicity for Amy Winehouse, Pete Doherty, Kerry Katona, Kate Moss - but nothing fatal to their supply of publicity and spreads in the 'sleb magazines.
So class A to C drugs are now just a footnote in society. Which is odd. Because they are very much still there - the tangled threesome of drink, drugs and mental health problems that are the ever-present companions of our regular customers.
But nowhere near as sexy as 'Citizen focus' or neighbourhood priorities. And I work somewhere so diverse that one neighbourhood's priority for the police is dog shit. Read it again. Dog turds. And not so many miles away it is drug related gun crime.
Just think about the issues here. Where would you rather live? Where would you rather bring up a family? Somewhere where the biggest risk is a dog egg lurking in the autumn leaves in the park? Or somewhere where gangs of well connected criminals are fighting over the profits of the heroin trade?
It's not a trick question... you decide...
Now imagine you have to allocate staff, budgets, resources, and meet the reported priorities of different communities. Where do you spend the most? And are shootings just a symptom of how utterly ingrained into society and culture drugs are? Just as buying knocked off coffee and bacon from hollow eyed junkies passes without comment. And agencies for every kind of addiction and problem fill town centre offices.
Sometimes we get very close to tuning out the fact that hundreds of thousands of people in the UK are locked into a pattern of crime, addiction and more crime. It underpins most of the theft offences, most burglaries, most thefts from cars - it is why most things get stolen. After years of mandatory drug testing, the need to feed a crack or heroin addiction is the reality for a good number of the inmates in the UK revolving-door prison system.
Do the maths... number of crack addicts in London in 2005 - 50,000 or the number of heroin addicts in UK about 200,ooo - or the number of problem drug users reported in 2006 in the UK estimated at 280,000 - and that's just the 'problem' users...
And these are the people living in unheated houses, with filthy children, keeping social services at bay, with needles scattered all over the floors, in homes without lighting... the far end of a supply chain from either the Andes or Afghanistan - depending on their drugs of choice. Waiting for the next fix.
So the drugs haven't gone away.
Even if it's not as interesting as G20 / G8 / BNP / MP's expenses / anti-social behaviour / hoodies / domestic violence /and so on... they're still out there - eyeing your possessions, looking to convert your stuff to small snap bags of temporary oblivion.
So the police aren't looking,[because the war on drugs isn't sexy] the media aren't looking [because it just isn't newsworthy], the politicians aren't looking [because the New-Labour initiatives came to nothing and the Tories are similarly bankrupt of ideas.] So who is looking to stem the tide of drug imports, reduce the number of addicts, deal with the chaos left bydrug addled lifestyles?
I know, I know... 13 years since the film - 16 since the book...