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Westminster Preparing 10-Year War on Drugs in Attempt to Defeat County Line Gangs

© REUTERS / POOLBritain's PM Johnson holds press conference on new coronavirus variant, in London
Britain's PM Johnson holds press conference on new coronavirus variant, in London - Sputnik International, 1920, 06.12.2021
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For years, the UK has been tackling the increasing levels of violence stemming from the so-called County Line networks, where illegal drugs are transported from one area to another, usually by children or vulnerable people who are coerced into it by gangs.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has now pulled attention back to the damage done by the County Line gangs, saying that Westminster plans to come down hard on them, ramping up the campaign against criminals who “prey” on drug users.
On a visit to Merseyside Police headquarters on Monday, Johnson has said that the government also aims to manage rehabilitation of hundreds of thousands of drug users.
Although crime has fallen in the past couple of years, according to Johnson, there are still hundreds of thousands of drug users in the UK doing all sorts of damage8888888.
“You’ve got to invest in rehabilitation. Everybody who knows about drugs crime will tell you that the lives of the 300,000 people are chaotic. They need to be taken off drugs and put into rehab,” Johnson said.
The PM had previously told the Sun on Sunday that the government won’t turn a blind eye to the “lifestyle class-A drug users”.
“I don’t want to stereotype them but I’m talking about lifestyle drugs. These people think it’s a victimless crime. It isn’t. The country is ­littered with victims of what’s happened. We are going to look at new ways of penalising them,” he said.
Westminster is considering taking measures such as confiscating users’ passports and driving licences – “things that will actually interfere with their life".
Johnson’s comments come as the Government is preparing to launch a 10-year plan to combat drug-related crime, including include tougher prison sentences for dealers, night-time curfews and football-style travel bans.
The Tory plans have been criticised by Labour MPs, who condemned threats to take the Brits’ passports.

“Drug strategy which invests in treatment, harm reduction and prevention is welcome. But a 'war on drugs', or threatening to take people's passports/driving licences for recreational use will increase harm. We need clear harm reduction not criminalisation,” Labour MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle, said.

Leader of the opposition, Labour’s Sir Keir Starmer, has argued that Britain’s drug problem has “got a lot worse in the past 10 years”.

“The question for the government is not just over the plans today but the money that they have taken out of the system. Millions and millions of pounds have been taken out of the system over the years and that has caused a lot of the problems. So I want to see the plans, I want to see the strategy, I want the Prime Minister to take responsibility for the money that’s been taken out of criminal justice in the past 10 years that’s caused many of these problems,” Starmer said in an interview.

In 2020, the UK saw a 3.8 percent increase in the number of deaths related to drug poisoning, compared with the previous year. Rates of drug-misuse death continue to be elevated among those born in the 1970s, with the highest rate among those aged 45 to 49 years, according to the Office of National Statistics.
Westminster is expected to make a number of crime announcements in the coming weeks.
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