Sputnik: A multi-agency report has told warned that police, teachers and parents should be aware that all children, including those from well-off families, are at risk of grooming by criminal gangs running illegal drugs from cities to rural areas. How sophisticated are these ‘County Line' gangs?
Frank Matthews: They are sophisticated in so much as the police are unable to infiltrate them and get to the bottom of this. We've had the headlines, as predicted, when they set up a unit in the West Midlands to combat county lines; the headlines consisted of old cases that they had been working on some times, there's no new cases that have been in the news and basically the police are not able to deal with this problem.Ex-CIA Officer Blasts Plan to Use 'Truth Drugs' by US Gov't as 'Shameful'
Sputnik: The launch of this special branch to crackdown on county line drugs gangs was released earlier on in the year and was a key government commitment. Have these investigators been successful in tackling these gangs?
Frank Matthews: Absolutely not! No, definitely not. The violence continues and in fact, it actually increased. There is an estimated 4,000 young people in London alone, 46,000 involved in gang activity in the country; this is a problem that is far too big for the police and the children services. They are just not equipped or funded. This is a problem that is not going to go away with the current strategy and policy with regards to drugs in the UK.
Sputnik: If this isn't the right answer and these aren't the right policies to tackle the illegal drug market in the UK, what actions should we be seeing from the government?
Frank Matthews: What they need to do is regulate drugs; take the drugs away from criminals and put them in the hands of responsible people. You are never going to stop the drug trade. There is a demand and that demand will be supplied by somebody — its best that it's not in the hands of organized crime.
We've got a show trial in New York at the moment with El Chapo from the Sinaloa Cartel, one of the biggest drug traffickers in the world, his arrest and his incarceration has not affected the availability or the price of drugs and that is what you need to gauge the success of any operation and every operation in the world has not affected the price or the availability.
The views expressed in this article are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.
The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.