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Drugs Policing (From Handbook of Policing, P 422-443, 2003, Tim Newburn, ed. -- See NCJ-203671)

NCJ Number
Maggy Lee; Nigel South
Date Published
22 pages
This chapter focuses on the early history and foundations of the development of drugs policing in Great Britain, including forms of organization and specialization.
Although drugs policing in Great Britain has been shaped by many of the same influences and changes as policing in general, it has also been influenced by distinctive factors such as innovations in law, methods, and technology; the police culture; and societal attitudes toward drug use. A review of the early history of drugs policing in Great Britain focuses on the various factors that led to perceptions that the use and/or abuse of certain drugs was such a serious threat to social order that criminalization of their sale and use was warranted. From the 1960's, the social and cultural contexts of drug use and drug-related crime have undergone significant changes, along with drug policy and drugs policing. This chapter describes organizational changes and trends in drugs policing. This includes a section on the transnationalization of drugs policing, followed by a section that discusses national and local drugs policing. The concluding section of the chapter focuses on forms of police misconduct associated with drugs policing. The author notes that what has emerged in drug policies and policing is a complex mixture of the enforcement and medical models, with one emphasizing detection and punishment for persons perceived as having freely chosen to break the law by using illegal drugs and the other viewing drug addiction as a health issue that should be addressed through effective treatment methods. The common concerns and conflicting values of these two models are constantly being negotiated in the course of forging drug policy and drug enforcement methods. 97 references


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