Current law is not working

IN HER letter last week, Penny Froud queried the record of the Liberal Democrats in tackling drugs and crime.

IN HER letter last week, Penny Froud queried the record of the Liberal Democrats in tackling drugs and crime.

I don't want to spend time looking back at the past, we have enough challenges facing us today. But I will set out my own position and ask Penny to consider the merits or otherwise of it.

The current law is not working. It neither effectively deters people from drug use nor ensures effective education and treatment. At the moment only half of convicted drug dealers are sent to prison. The remainder get away with a fine or a caution. Drug Treatment and Testing Orders are proving utterly ineffective with a reconviction rate for those given an order by the courts during their introduction of 80 per cent.

The Liberal Democrats do not support legalisation of soft drugs. Indeed, we have said that the full force of the criminal law should be directed at the thugs and pushers who run the illegal drugs trade. We are proposing tough new measures to combat them, including a new offence of 'dealing' to target those supplying illegal drugs, making it easier to confiscate their assets, and allowing the selling of drugs near children to be an aggravating factor in sentencing.


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I have said that I want to see a Drugs Action Zone created in Weston to introduce compulsory prison sentences for drug dealers and more powers for the police and local authority to tackle failing rehabs and drug linked crime. We have particular challenges here in Weston and we need special arrangements to try to tackle them. I will seek to introduce a law in Parliament to give effect to these measures. Not just talk, but action.

According to the Home Office, local drug crime has risen in the last five years and at the same time we have fewer police on our streets. That is a disgrace and has got to change. I will work with Penny and anyone else to put the fight against drugs and crime at the very forefront of our community efforts.

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MIKE BELL

George Street, Weston

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