Monday, December 11, 2006

How to cut crime by 60 per cent at a stroke

THANKS TO the miracles of technology, I can now go back and find out just when it was that I first floated the idea that heroin should be given away free on street corners.

It was, in fact, September 2001. So it’s only taken five years for the politicians and the constabulary to catch up with me.

It really is a simple argument. As Howard Roberts, the deputy chief constable of Nottinghamshire, told an ACPO conference last week, of every 10 crimes committed in this country, six are drugs-related – burglaries, muggings and shoplifting carried out to feed a habit.

(Three of the other four are probably innocent, middle class people being caught by speed cameras, but that’s a different argument.)

I would say that 60 per cent is a modest estimate. After all, there are comparatively few car thefts these days and the big armed robberies have been superceded by identity theft and internet fraud. (Did you buy shares in shredder manufacturers like I told you to a couple of years ago? And are you now piling into pub patio heater manufacturers, ready for the smoking ban?)

I tell you what; in a novel departure for this column, let’s look at some facts, shall we? And bear in mind that these are official figures. Around 30 tons of heroin is smuggled into Britain each year. This feeds 300,000 addicts. To fund that addiction, the average addict needs to find £15,000 a year. To net £15k, he commits crimes costing £45,000. And that all adds up to an average 432 crimes a year committed by each and every heroin addict.

It’s quite gobsmacking. So can we agree that if we remove the need to pay for Class A drugs like heroin, we take away the need to steal? We also destroy the empires of the drugs barons who currently control distribution while dabbling in other kinds of criminality in their spare time.

So, at a stroke, we reduce crime by between 60 and 70 per cent. What would any government – or enlightened society – give for that? True, there’d be a few casualties along the way, but anyone stupid enough to overdose on free dope isn’t going to be much of a loss anyway. It makes such overwhelming common sense that I’m amazed no-one’s had the guts to do it before.

Is there a politician brave enough to have a pop? Maybe Mr Brown is the man. After all, he’s not yet managed to find a way to tax it.

ON THE other hand, he is taxing cheap flights, using that ludicrous Stern report to justify lining the government’s pockets in the guise of environmental concern and “compensating for travellers’ carbon footprints”. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anything quite so daft since Jeffrey Archer last pleaded not guilty.

Do you really think that the Powers That Be are going to rush out and plant a couple of trees every time you hop on an EasyJet to Malaga? What utter tosh. The money will go where it always goes: into perpetuating the Turkey Army of unnecessary civil servants whose task is to vote NuLabour back into power next time around.

And if not there, it’ll be poured into the trough where our MPs park their snouts. Did you see that they want a pay increase that’ll take their annual salary up to £100,000? That’s on top of the average £130,000 a year that they claim in expenses – much of it fiddled. It’s enough to make a cat laugh.

NOW HERE’S a tough one for the leather-elbowed, lentil-eating Lefties. Do we want to renew Trident, our nuclear deterrent? Of course not, they cry, coming over all faint. Think of all the Turkey Army jobs that £75 billion could create … err … and all the hospitals and schools it would build.

So let me get this straight. We have well-educated (i.e. pre-1978) professional people in positions of influence in this country who seriously think that it’s fine for North Korea and Iran to have a nuclear capability (we’ll not even mention the French) but we can’t? See that aforementioned cat? It’s now in hysterics.

CURRENT pet hate? You meet someone and, being polite, ask them how they are. “I’m good, thank you,” they reply.

Oh, so you’re good are you? At what exactly? Knitting? White-water rafting? Feng shui? What madness is this?

And in with a bullet at Number 2 are all those snivelling little 20-year-old stoodents who blagged a Daddy-funded month in Thailand or Goa, returning to claim that they’ve been “travelling in their gap year.” And then decide that it’s appropriate to eat with their fingers in your local Indian restaurant.

Travelling? Listen, sonny. When I was your age, getting to the Isle of Wight was a bloody challenge, let me tell you …

THIS COLUMN’S role as a soothsayer continues, with the national media finally catching up with my argument that investing in a trendy, alternative Christmas present - like buying a goat for an African village – verges on crass stupidity. I can’t believe it’s taken them so long to cotton on.

Just think about it. What is the one thing we all know about goats? Yes, they eat everything they come across. So all those daft Lefties who’ve been shipping Billy Goat Gruff out to Somalia have been responsible to laying waste to any crops the poor Africans managed to conjure up from the barren earth. Worse than that, a goat will drink up to 75 litres of water a day, and I think we all know that water is the most precious commodity on that continent.

I wouldn’t mind so much if you could actually visit your goat and see how it was getting on, but this seems impossible. Could it be that most of them have ended up in the cooking pot by Twelfth Night? If so, it’s probably for the best.

O The views of Mr Beelzebub are purely personal and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Editor or staff of this website, of anyone voted for Darren Clarke in the BBC Sports Personality of the Year show (Your wife dies so you go out and play golf? What kind of message is that?), of anyone booked on a Christmas trip to Australia for the cricket, or of anyone who wasn't impressed with the boxing the other night. How that Ainsley Harrison finds time to fit in his training as well as being a TV chef is beyond me.


Anonymous Black Dog said...

Personally, I believe that anyone stupid enough to try heroin and hence get addicted - and not REALISE that the bloody stuff's addicted- deserves very little pity. Let them overdose on the nice pure stuff the Government provides, just let them think that it's cut with bathroom grouting, bleach or cat worming tablets...

The problem is, some morons out there will think that because it has government sanction, it's safe to use the damned stuff.

Yeah, that's a pet hate of mine, too: "I'm good". Anyway, it's one of them empty questions we tend to ask, we don't give a toss what the answer is, really. Sometimes, you're sorry you asked, especially with women.

"Travelling in their gap year". A classic case of travel failing miserably to broaden the mind. Most go on "routes" which cater totally for other European students, and they rarely actually see the real country they're in. Most people travel only to confirm their own prejudices.

3:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As far a goats go, I have a fab recipe for goat curry, the guests all came back for 2nds and 3rds thinking it was nice lean lamb.... Goat rogan gosh, mmmmm, makes me mouth water just thinking of it.

3:31 PM  
Blogger The Weardale Militia said...

Now then you know how to push my buttons. The carbon footprint philosophy being bandied about by the powers in Westminster means nothing to Joe Schmo in the streets. Most folks think it’s the marks on the carpet when you have cleaned the fire out – yes some of us are still burning Polish coal thank you very much. If Gordie Brown could just be up front and say “I am going to tax the hell out of you all and be damned with it” then we would all know where we stood – in a cesspool.
I personally would like to see all the blue chip companies and international oil companies move to Grantham. All the personnel could buy all the houses and reduce travel time and distance by three quarters. The City of London would be deserted just like an old Clint Eastwood spaghetti western with old copies of the Financial Times blowing in the wind. Tube, rail and road congestion would be reduced. No need to worry about the London congestion charge ever again. Train services would be reduced as a result just to keep the trains full to capacity. It’s a win win situation.
I am also worried about the revelation that cows produce more methane gas than industry and they are a prime contributor to global warming. Don’t send those goats to Africa but keep them in you’re back garden and feed them on kitchen waste and grass. Then you milk the goat, which becomes more practical if you live in Grantham and work for a multi-national oil company because you have three extra hours in the day, which used to be used for travel. So again it’s a win win situation but I feel there would be a goat tax in the offing.
If we continue to reduce our carbon emissions that means there is more capacity for India and China so we are also pushing forward the boundaries of International Relations – Ms Beckett take note.

10:20 PM  
Blogger Jimmy McTourette said...

Not even a smattering of your usual racial hatred this week Bazza - what the fuck is the matter with you?

11:49 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

Re: the legalisation of heroin. Would that mean Pete Doherty could technically write off his stash against tax? ;-)

If tobacco is legal, then why not the Big H?

4:35 AM  
Anonymous brentford mike said...

Narcotics. Totally agree, I've been boring on about it for years.

Virtually everyone I know - from my mid-70s parents, friends of the Left and of the Right - none of whom would know a bag of heroin from a bag of shit - agree that all narcotics should be totally legalised as soon as. More and more people I speak to have reached the conclusion that the so-called war on drugs is a total waste of time and money and that the legalise-it route should be given a go - we've nothing to lose. I think most politicians know this, but none has the spine to put his hand up.

People who take drugs would probably have taken them anyway, at least this way they get good "shit". Maaaan.

8:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been saying for years about the legalisation of all narcotics. Freebies for registered addicts is a sure way to a) reduce crime b) reduce unemployment figures when one of the idiots ODs on something a little stronger and purer than they're used to. Heartless? Well yes, but I like most have dabbled with various narcotics and in that time i still steered clear of the truly hard stuff. For want of a better term: it fucks you up.
With regard to other drugs such as weed, the street value is so high that even if it was legalised and sold you could half the price and still make a mint off it. (future tax problems reduced?)
For anyone reading this i must recommend High Society by Ben Elton. The book is a must for anyone who is interested in the arguments for and against legalisation of narcotics, and for those cynical people like myself.

9:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why can`t we just throw the addicted fuckers into prison for years and years and years and force cold turkey on them.

Instead of giving them a few months here and there and still let them take their stash inside with them.

11:38 AM  
Anonymous mr cliff said...

Not too sure about free heroine for smackheads. Am I really the only person to notice the first problem? If the police can’t catch criminals who “to put it mildly” weren’t the brightest sparks at school, and now their brains are fuddled by years of substance abuse, then how the hell are they going to catch real criminals? Or is it true that the police have given up on real crime and justify their existence by pulling in motorists?

If my beer and tobacco are taxed to the eyeballs, I object to my taxes being used to give heroine to total wasters who have never paid a tax in their worthless lives.
And what about those who take soft drugs, will they continue hold a job down to pay their dealer or will they take up crime to get stronger stuff for free?

If free drugs are really the only way to fight crime then at least make them work for it. Build special work houses for those caught breaking the law. For a days work they get a fix, and don’t let them out until they decide to work to pay for a drying out session instead of their fix.

8:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I feel it's time to start a new T-shirt range. The over all motif on the shirt should be 'Evolution in Action', and in this case with a further text: 'Legalize heroin; bury the problem'.

8:41 AM  
Anonymous riddler said...

and there we are in Afghanistan with a ready supply of the stuff - buy it up, cut out the Taliban, two for the price of one.
Don't tell me it won't work - I like simple solutions.

11:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why not, I suppose. The government could hand out heroin with weekly benefit. Then all the bingo-winged moms could get into proper drugs rather than death by Tottenham cake from Greggs.

I suppose free drugs is a government (final)solution to the under-class.

Perhaps if we cut benefit and force people to support themselves- rather than reinforcing the belief that the government owes us all a living, people wouldn't have the spare cash and time to indulge themselves.

3:13 AM  

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