As I wrote a month ago, it is clear that at least one of our current MP’s is very ignorant when it comes to the nature of County Lines. However the debate that took place at the House of Commons on Monday was a bit more encouraging with at least two MPs asking questions and calling for responses that could make a positive difference to the way in which these challenges impact our nation. The first was Royston Smith who made it clear that the people who buy drugs for their use are part of the cause of County Lines. Of course there are strong views by some people that if drugs were not illegal that such things could change. However this is a very different approach to the views of many people in our nation and there is no immediate likelihood for such a change. Clearly if we accept that drug taking is widely adopted, then it seems very hard to come up with a safer way of purchasing them. So for the moment I am afraid that those of our communities who want the opportunity to take drugs need to accept that their enjoyment is causing major problems for many other people including the many very vulnerable young people who are the ones who become caught up in County Lines. Sadly the response from Priti Patel seemed to ignore this matter, her response was
My hon. Friend is absolutely right. The use of drugs is simply unacceptable and the fact of the matter is that those who misuse and take drugs should also be aware of the consequences of their actions: children around the country are being trafficked and abused and used by drugs gangs to fuel people’s drug addictions. A great deal of work is taking place across Government on this, including by Dame Carol Black, who did a review of drugs and has provided further evidence on what other measures the Government can bring in, in addition to law enforcement measures.
The other MP who made a very positive comment was Nick Thomas-Symonds who is the MP for Torfaen in Wales and he is also the Shadow Solicitor General, Shadow Minister of the Home Office. His comments included the reference to the current COVID-19 challenges facing the Police.
County lines are one aspect of the threat posed by serious and organised crime, in respect of which the coronavirus crisis presents hugely difficult challenges. I should be grateful if the Home Secretary passed my thanks on to the Minister for Security for the discussions that I have had with him on measures on warrants, but can she set out what other measures she will take to ensure that our police can deal with urgent issues, including their having the appropriate protective equipment? Does she agree that we need to ensure that this period in which we will be in emergency measures is not exploited by those who wish us harm?
Once again in her response to his comments, Priti Patel did not respond to this most critical matter in Nick’s question.