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...


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

  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.