Friday, September 24, 2010

Needles for Shoplifters

The News tells us “Trouble is in Store for City Shoplifters” because of the team of store detectives hired by local businesses. This is a few days after it was reported that the local druggies are asking for smaller needle bins because the current ones - handed out for free with the support of our local constabulary and Lib Dem MP - are "too unwieldy to carry around – while they are out shoplifting."

So if we change the size of the bin, we get more shoplifters; if we don't change the size then we get dirty needles discarded in play areas.

So do we lock them up for the drug offences or for the shoplifting ones? Your choice...

2 comments:

  1. Come on Richard, tell us what your considered policy would be?

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  2. Many of us who were in harm-reduction services at the time thought that giving out a burn-bin and clean injecting equipment to people in police cells was a step too far towards normalisation of behaviours linked to illicit drugs, especially if the person had been arrested for drug-related crimes. Police officers also felt incredibly ambivalent about the step, which had to be imposed from above.

    What you talk about, Richard - provision of injecting-related equipment to facilitate crime - goes beyond normalisation into the realms of integration of criminality as a "normal" activity.

    I remember, a few years ago, a short police operation targeting not only drug-dealers but the users providing the demand; in its wake, our clients told us that there was no heroin for sale in Cambridge for a fortnight. We need our police to target drug-offences and do so robustly.

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