Police force leader hits out at middle-class cocaine users

A police force leader has criticised middle-class drug users who are more worried about the supply line of the coffee they drink than the cocaine they use.

David Lloyd, police and crime commissioner (PCC) for Hertfordshire, flagged up the issue as he gave evidence to a House of Commons inquiry on serious violence.

He told the Home Affairs committee: “One of the real issues we’ve got at the moment is around use of drugs.

“Frankly, the middle classes who are really concerned about their fair trade coffee, and what the supply line of that is, don’t seem to have the same concern around the cocaine that they take.”

Taking cocaine is “not victimless”, Mr Lloyd said, adding: “Organised crime groups are using violence to enforce an unlawful market.”

Mr Lloyd’s remarks echo comments by Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick, who has hit out at middle-class cocaine users who worry about issues like the environment and fair trade but believe there is “no harm” in taking the class A drug.

Ms Dick’s remarks followed similar interventions by London mayor Sadiq Khan and Justice Secretary David Gauke.

In a recent speech Home Secretary Sajid Javid said a Government review into the ways drugs are fuelling serious violence will bring home to middle-class drug users that they are part of the problem.

He added: “They may never set foot in a deprived area. They may never see an act of serious violence, but their illicit habits are adding fuel to the fire that is engulfing our communities.”

Focus on the issue has intensified amid mounting concern over violent offending and knife crime.

Figures published last year indicated that cocaine use among people from wealthier homes in England and Wales was at its highest in nearly a decade.

In 2017/18, 3.4% of 16 to 59-year-olds living in households with an income of at least £50,000 reported taking the drug in powder form during the last year. The percentage was the highest recorded since 3.8% in 2008/09.

Meanwhile Dame Louise Casey, a former senior official who left the civil service after 18 years in 2017, said the Government’s strategy for tackling serious violence is “woefully inadequate” and “not a match for what we are dealing with”.

Dame Louise, whose previous roles include independent commissioner for victims and witnesses of crime, said: “Somebody somewhere has to say ‘we need to draw a line in the sand’ and work out how we go forward across the whole of society and across the whole of government.”

Read Full Story

FROM OUR PARTNERS