The government has appointed Professor Dame Carol Black to lead a wide-ranging review into ‘the ways in which drugs are fuelling serious violence’. Professor Black previously led the government’s review looking at whether people with drug or alcohol problems should be made to undergo treatment in order to claim benefits (DDN, September 2015, page 4).
The ‘changing drugs market’ has been identified by the government’s serious violence strategy as a key driver of the recent increase in violent crime, and the new review will look at ‘who drug users are, what they are taking and how often’ to build a comprehensive picture of the issue, the Home Office states. The initial findings will be reported in the summer, followed by a second phase of the review.
‘We know the sale and use of drugs is driving serious violence,’ said the home secretary, Sajid Javid. ‘This review will give us a greater understanding of the drugs market so we can make our action even more targeted. Dame Carol has a wealth of experience and I am confident that she will bring independence, integrity and a strong focus to the review.’
In a radio interview with Professor Black she stated that the Home Office had placed issues of decriminalisation and legalisation outside the scope of the review, however, an approach that Transform chief executive James Nicholls called ‘untenable’.