Neil Woods & JS Rafaeli: "Drug Wars" | Talks at Google
We're. Here, to talk about drugs. But. I'm just gonna start with that little kind of quiz. Who, here in the context, of drugs, has. Heard, of a thing called the British system. Like. Capital, B capital S, British, system formal thing alright for, viewers at home that's zero. People. And. You guys are you, guys are googled I mean you have access to information. But. Don't feel too bad because we've done I've. Asked the same question, at. Criminology. Departments, in major universities. With people who specialize in drugs. Policy, and the. Results, weren't actually that much better. It's. A really interesting thing, so. We started. Researching. We, were researching drug, policy for, a long time together for another book and we started researching the history of it and what, we uncovered was this really, fascinating kind of like lost thread, of British history. And. It's we. Found it very revealing, not. Just about drugs and the, way they're governed but about the. Intellectual. And political traditions. Of this country, and about. How, like, by reflection, the. Like. Nature, of global drugs, policy and how it works and more importantly how it doesn't work so. The. Conscious of time. Give. You a very, quick like, potted, history. Of. How. Drug, policy, developed, particularly. In Britain. From. The 19th century the, drugs that we consider illegal today were basically actually legal, you could buy him, apothecaries. Corner stores people. Brewed poppy, head tea as a sort of folk remedy a painkiller, in the absence of like a health system and, aspirin. Hadn't been invented yet. As. The 19th century ends there's. The emergence of like a professional class a new professional, class of a pharmacist, this, had never been heard before immediately. What breaks out is a. Sort. Of turf war between. Two. Also newly emerging, sets of professional, classes you, have medical. Health professionals, which has been a newly professionalized, industry, and you, have like civil, servants and a newly emerging professional, bureaucracy, and. There's this little tussle, between the two and this happens all over the the, sort of developed, world. As. To who's going to control the supply of medicines, but, also these illicit drugs like opium. Cannabis. Eventually, became part of that conversation in cocaine when it was invented all, three, of which Queen, Victoria, was quite partial to incidentally. This, tussle sort of goes on over the end of the 19th century as science. Advances, and then World War one happens. Post-world. War One this. The. First British, Ministry, of Health is formed in 1919, and they figure, right we need to figure this stuff out drugs. Are actually becoming an issue, specifics, on the international, scene particularly from the US which we'll talk about in a minute we. Need to figure this out so, they form a committee called the Rolleston committee the. Ralston committee meets and they basically figure, out a system. Which, became known as the British, system and. What. The British system entailed in his most basic. Iteration. Was. That if you are a heroin addict and was specifically, largely about heroin which is the most addictive. Drug if you're addicted to heroin you can go to your doctor and say listen I'm a heroin. Addict and with, no judgment, they'll, say okay. That's. Unfortunate. But. Will supply your heroin we will give you heroin, not methadone, none, of these other substitutes. We, will supply you heroin. From, your doctor you don't need to go to a gangster, you don't need to go to a black market we'll. Give it to you and what's very interesting about. That. Might, be like quite shocking that this happened, sort. Of in living memory in this country you go to your doctor and they. Give you drugs which we consider you. Know evil. Or illegal. What's. Very interesting about the way the rolleston Committee and the. British system as it emerged. The. Is the language that was used there. Is no moralizing, there. Was no sense that drugs, were.
Evil, Or the taking, drugs or being addicted to drugs was, moral failing we, sort of referred to as like these, unfortunate. People who. Were addicted to drugs it was an accident. And. This. System. Was. Instituted and it been it worked for decades. What's. Interesting is, that there was another system, emerging. Across. The Atlantic, in the United States a different. Way of dealing with drugs. Which. Was intensely, moralizing. Where. Drugs, were we're considered a moral evil and the only way with which to handle them was not through the medical profession, as it was under, the British system, but. By law enforcement. Which, is you know one can read many things into that about like American, approaches, between, like the individual, in the state and like the, sheriff with the badge and the gun and all this stuff but another. Time. The. So the American way of, dealing with these drugs was a, moralizing. And be super, racist like. It was rooted, absolutely. In racism. Particularly. In. Its real. Origins, in anti-chinese. Racism. Hundreds. Of thousands of Chinese workers. Had been brought to the United States to, build the railroads, as. Soon as the railroads were finished. The. Establishment. And the white, America. Something. Had to figure out right there.these. Thousand. Hundreds of thousands of now unemployed Chinese people and it. Became a problem for them uh. And. Attacking. Opium, the practice, of taking, opium which have been largely. Forced on the Chinese by the British again, another story. Became. A way to attack, Chinese, communities, and to limit Chinese, immigration and there's, some really, like these quotes started flooding out from newspapers, this is a newspaper from San Francisco, describing. Opium. Dens where white women and Chinamen, sit side by side under the effects of this drug a humiliating. Sight to anyone with anything left of manhood and. Just stuff that you hear today and you go. Yeah. The. Campaigner, Richard Hobson he was a major guy in the u.s. incipient. War on drugs, like. The invasions, and play of history the scourge of narcotic, drug addiction came out of Asia, again. You hear that today and you it's. Just profoundly. Disgusting, but it was this was the. Tenor of language, at a time. Opium. And. Eventually. Heroin was particularly associated with the Chinese community. Cocaine. They replicated, it with cocaine and african-americans. There's quotes in the book which I will not read. Now which are profoundly. Disturbing. And. Marijuana. With Mexico. With Mexicans, and Hispanic, Latin Americans, community. It was a process. Which was repeated. Again and again to attach a certain drug to, a certain ethnic community, and use, that to make the. Drug illegal that's a way of attacking minorities. The. This. Resulted, in this. Sort of early version, of what we now call the war on drugs and. The American, Way of making. All drugs illegal which is. That. Idea, didn't. Exist here as I said we. Had the British system over here in the, states they made everything illegal now. Which. System works better. If. Your aim is to control drug use we, can and. Limit drug use and limit the dangers of drug use we. Can look to the numbers the the exact, numbers for, let's say the 40s and 50s in America, are sort, of unknowable, but, it's in the mid. To high hundreds, of thousands, were. Low. To mid hundreds of thousands in the u.s. several several hundred thousand heroin. Addicts in the, United States in, the. In the mid. 40s early 50s, in. The, United Kingdom our video, quote from the book in. Nineteen fifty-nine there, were 62, known, heroin, addicts in the UK, by. 1964. This, had risen to, 342. Now. This five-year. Rise from 62, to 342. Heroin. Addicts here was considered a crisis, here, was, like oh my god we have 350 heroin addicts, in.
The Entire country. You. Can compare the numbers just when I mean I remember going over these statistics, and thinking. There. Was a time in living memory. When. The entire heroin, addict population, of the UK it, would be a bit of a squeeze but, it could fit in this room. That's. Living in living memory 1964. It's not that long ago the. Beatles first though you know opiate. Only come out two years earlier. So. In, terms of the effectiveness. Of. Controlling. Addict, numbers. We. See the British system actually it. Was actually much more effective there are very technical. Reasons. For that which I'd like to get into in a minute but. I'm gonna let Neil get on in one second because I just want to keep it keep it clipping along. Why. Did the British system get shut down. Essentially. I, mean. The odds of the short answer is American, what we call cultural imperialism the, second. World war happens, every. Single developed, economy, ends the second world war poorer, except. One the, United States. The. United States ended the war richer. There. Are these very, shocking quotes we found where in, the aftermath of war as the, incipient. Organization. That you know grew into the United Nations comes about the. American. Organization. Which became the FBI the predecessor, to the FBI sort of goes around the rows on you. Want that military aid make. Drugs illegal. You. Want our political and diplomatic support, make, drugs illegal, and. What. We now know, as the war on drugs was, forced, on the, through. The United Nations was. Forced on the unwilling. Rest of the world, by. United. States diplomatic military, and economic pressure. The. Major. Holdout, the major developed. Economy that resisted, that was. The. United Kingdom. It's. A surprise we think of. Anglo-american. Relations. And. We think of the, the UK following the US has lead a lot it's a cliche, in fact. It's interestingly in, this particular field of policy. Britain. Was. A resistor. To, that and let. It really, kind of Noble. Diplomatic. Resistance, but. Uh I'm. Gonna let in you'll jump in to tell you how this Neal, has. Experienced, the results of this on the streets, and I'll let him take over didn't. Tell you about his experiences, well I mean I grew up seeing. The drug war as a war so when I went into the police I was I understood. It I thought quite, clearly and. As. Jr. says there was only a few hundred problematic.
Heroin Users in the UK in the 1960s. That, went up to. 350,000. By. The end of the 1980s. So. There's a very clear cause and effect there but, of course that cause and effect that's what brought me into the drug war as a young police officer, I got an attachment to the drug squad and. Because. Of the moral panic about crack. And heroin on. Our, streets, and I. Got. Roped into working, undercover and it was it was just beginning that this type of undercover, work and just began at that time in 1993. In the UK and the. First time I worked undercover I was, sent to a door with a 20 20, pound note to. Buy some crack cocaine and, and. The. Guy his, huge scary guy I thought but then money sold me that the crack he, said no you take care now, don't get arrested, he. Was quite considerate, to me really. And. So I went back to the drug squad with my 20 pound stone of crack cocaine and I've got it but. Then that define the next fourteen years of my life and that, that's that's the work I then did for the most part of, the, biggest. Proportion at that time for 14 years now I. Say. It was easy the first time and he was quite considerate, but of course drug dealers get sent to prison and they spent they speak to other drug dealers so. Quite. Quickly they. Knew that there was a new tactic out there and so, the next people were more suspicious, and it was more difficult. So. I realized, that had to spend, time manipulating. People I also. Worked. Out that the easiest people to manipulate, are. The most vulnerable. It's. True it's a basic, it's, a truism of undercover work you you manipulate, the most vulnerable people the easiest. And, of, course the most vulnerable people of the most problematic, heroin. And crack cocaine users, and also the most vulnerable people they've got all the contacts as well because they're using more drugs than anybody else so. I got to know the people who were self-medicating for, childhood, trauma I spent time speaking, to them people. Who had been. Abused. Beaten, by their fathers, sexually. Abused by their uncles or neglected. In one way or another the. People who were problematically, using heroin tend to have those kind of things in common so I spend a lot of time listening to them one of these people who had a very difficult childhood I, got. To know in, an undercover, operation in Nottingham, he. Was called cami now. I spent weeks. Willing him I even brought him bought him presents I said. Are coming, up in shoplifting, this and I'd I didn't sell this last cup I said, to him, shoplifting. Is great fun by the way if. You. Can if you've got you get out of jail free card and you know you can get away with it really is this great fun but. I digress. Anyway, so I gave, him this spaceball, cup and I'll never forget the day he took, his old one off he's tatty cap off and he's put his new one on and checking, out his profile, in the glass doorway, and. This is our thanks button that's really great thank, you anyway. I spent a lot of time with Cammy and he introduced, me to the people that, I needed to be introduced to, particularly. Some some. People. Who were involved with this gangster, called Colin. Gunn, who. Ran the Bestwood cartel in in Nottingham, so. He was the person who got me to the introductions. Now. At, the conclusion, of that operation. Of. Course, cami. Had also been. Committing. Offenses in fact he was committing offences on bail he'd been dealing heroin himself. So. He also got arrested and. I. Found out but. When it were all the people that was 60 are people arrested, for that operation and I found out that when, he was in the police cells he. Ended up on minute-to-minute, watch, suicide. Watch and. The. Reason for that is he thought I was. His one friend, in the world. The. Only person he could trust with the things that he was he was talking about, and. Of course you know I used my empathy to get to know him I knew. Exactly what I was doing but. For him, for someone who'd had that difficult, a childhood. That. Was just one betrayal. Too. Much. So. When. I finished the operation I actually, decided. I was I had to stop. Stop. Working, undercover and I did for. A few weeks until I. Got a phone call from the detective sergeant he said would. See we need you to do this job. Because. These guys are. Even, more vicious, than the, last ones these. This gang the burger bar boys are using rape as. Reputation. Building just. To be the scariest gangsters, out there and, they. Were taking over the supply of heroin. And crack industry. In the town of Northampton they were a gang that was coming out of Birmingham. So. I. Spent. Months, again. Manipulating. People in Northampton, to get the introductions, to them. And. They were a terrifying, Bunch at. The burger bar boys in. Fact one one day I I. Had been wearing a camera because eventually you have to have some kind of corroboration, of what's going on I had been wearing one but one day I thought I don't, like the load the way they're looking at me this they're being a bit suspicious of me so in the next morning I thought shall i wear the camera and I, didn't I left it off and.
Wow I was, pleased that I I did, because when, I met them they snatched. Me off the street into this big van took. Me to the edge of the racecourse in the centre of Northampton. And one. Of them lifted his shirt and, showed me a gun and said right come on strip your. Five oh man your five oh and yeah. They do they use the word 500. Remember. Looking at him thinking you're, not old enough to have seen that program on TV. Five. Oh anyway, that they made they made me strip which, was a terrifying experience especially, with the gun there and as they, crowded round me laughing at me and tried, to humiliate me, and it was humiliating, but. I was still thinking thank, thank, God I didn't wear the camera. But. With, all the horrors that they, were doing, and of the casual violence that they that, they dished out. Eventually. Eventually. It dawned on me you see when I'd be manipulating, kami and other people and causing harm to those people I knew I'd caused the harm I knew. I knew. That their lives would be much worse for meeting, me but, I. Thought the end justified, the means. But. Eventually after years and years of doing that work dawned. On me that. These gangsters, were getting more and more violence every year they, weren't wishing me luck and telling, me not to get myself arrested they were threatening, me with guns and knives and swords and. Eventually. I had the penny dropped and I had to face the fact that, the reason for that is down to me or rather, people like me. Because. This drug, war if. It's a war, it's more of an arms race because. That we every, tactic the police develop, organized, crime, develop. A tactic to up to to, deal, with it, and. The best tactic organized-crime have is the use of fear and violence so, it's, a cause and effect again. It's. Like we've gone from a few hundred heroin, addicts to three hundred and fifty thousand there's a cause and effect by, trying to police this problem that's what we do because. The violence is the push back so that. Was hard for me because all. Those times I took the decision that the unjustified, the means it didn't it. Didn't at all all I've, been doing is causing harm. But. I think the perhaps, would you explain a bit better about how the arms race work mmm yeah, well I can put, it in context, I guess so that. Process, of, of. An arms race that, Neil, saw where. The, police get smarter. So. The gangsters get more violent, so, the police have to get smarter and the, gangsters, have to get more violent it's. An ever-escalating. Arms. Race and because. Of the particular nature of drug. Addiction in the drugs market there's, never any. Option. Of de-escalation, it, can only go one way because of the structure of policy. Neill. Experience. That very like, in a brutal of sort of first-hand way on the street on the street when we were researching this book. Essentially. What we were trying to do, we. Realized was to, show that war on drugs not, as a sort of process of like headline, by headline by headline so. Daily, hysteria, over drugs, but. As a process of trips or change over time and to, see how actually, over decades, this. Has changed and it's grown and, metastasized. Into the crisis we see today and we. Also we, hung out with quite a few pretty. Heavy gangsters. Interviewing. Them because they have an important view, on this the. People who sell the drugs and. We. Were up in Liverpool which occupies, a very. Specific place, in the sort of drugs map of the UK for various historical. Reasons and. We. Ended up interviewing three, generations, of Liverpool. Gangsters. The. First one. Came. Up in the late 70s, early 80s I think he was first. Arrested at 14, for, robbery got into very, serious armed, robbery. This. Was a scary guy Neil as a cop and me as a journalist have, both interviewed, some pretty. Heavy people, in, our in our careers, and both, of us came out of this in the this interview going I got. A serious serious. News bit, big guy he'd. Been shot four, times or, three or four times I forget he had hands you could see the, damage from. His hands from where. He had damaged other people, and, he. Described, how he had, come up in the, armed robbery world of the 80s, and seen. The process by. Which the.
Drugs. Crisis, as it emerged, in, the 80s wiped. Out the armed robbers or at least co-opted. The armed robbers and everyone. Became a drug dealer, because. There is just simply, the. Risk, to reward you. Can make from dealing drugs far. Outweighs the risk to reward you can make from like having to actually take a gun go, to a bank you might get shot by the police and, the. Amount of money you'd might make in one armed robbery you, can make week in week out. Heroin, too vulnerable addicts. Without. Incurring. The kind of risk, that. Armed robbers do you have now interesting, the armed robbery actually, sort of went, up when the, drugs crisis emerged because everyone was trying to all, the, criminal. World were trying to do an armed, robbery in order to get the capital to invest in, selling. Heroin it's. Just it's, bad from all angles. But, what's interesting as, much as this guy used guns he also talked about fighting a lot like actually physical fist fighting to. Solve turf wars and stuff the. Next guy, was. A slightly. Less physically, imposing but just, as worrying a guy he'd been a, very. Serious gangster. In the 90s, he, come up with the ecstasy. Generation. The early rave scene made, a lot of money in that and then diversify. His portfolio into. Cocaine heroin, and guns. Yeah, and, he was, very interesting what he described, as a process of sort of professionalization. Of this. As opposed to the sort of chaotic, seventies. And eighties world he was like no no what we did is we read the biographies, of terrorists. And. Figured. Out how to like divide. Our organization. Into like cellular, structures, so, that know if one guy got caught he wouldn't be able to rat on the other guys and was. This very interesting process, of like almost like corporatization. Professionalization. And, the. Money was phenomenal, they, came they came up but he also said like yeah and if we had a problem with the guy we took him to van stuck a gun in his mouth and told him not to come back, we're. Told him to stop what he was doing and that was our thing but he I don't think this guy had ever I know he'd never been shot and I don't think he'd ever actually, shot anybody but. He the, threat and people he knew had certainly shot other people. The. Third. Person. We spoke to. Was. 16 years old and he'd. Been. Dealing. Drugs since he was 13 and carrying. A knife since he was 13 he. Had. Stopped. Dealing, drugs. He said. About. About six months before we sat down and talked but. He had a yeah. He had grown up in a world where. That was normal and. He. Described, a. As. The, sort of the chaos of the currency. The. Monopoly, the, monopolization, which, I described before him from the 90s. Heavy. Gangster, had. Been sort of smashed up a bit by the police they'd had certain successes, and, what that I'd like to is a sort of fragmentation, of the drug world where the guys at the very top are still, corporate, i monopolized, but, the people at the low-end this 16, year old kid there's. Intense there's a chaotic element. To it which suits. It. Makes it harder for the for the police to work to. Catch this. Kid describe to one situation, where he had at 15, years old. He'd. Had a beef with another couple of 15 year olds they. Hadn't they come looking for him they hadn't been able to find him so they kicked in the door of his house and slashed his father across. The face with a knife 15. This. Kid Alex the kid 15 year old we were talking to he, went to his the boss of is a media boss in his drug do drug-dealing organisation he was in his mid-20s and said look these kids have slashed my father across the face I need, a gun his. Boss said you, know I've just sold my last gun I've, got a hand grenade. This. 15, year old kid sat with the hand grenade, in his. Sock drawer for, six months waiting trying, to find the other kids, he. Wasn't able to find them because they were off doing something called County lines which Anil is about to describe. So. He eventually sold the hand grenade off. What's. Interesting about this is what we described in the book is it's a process of three. Generations that the British drug war is now in its third generation you.
Have The generation where drugs sort of came up. Where. The armed robbers became drug dealers you, have the generation of. Monopolization. And, corporatization, when, the money flooded, in and the. Drug gangs became organized, and made, a lot of money. And now you have this third generation of kids. On the street who have only been socialized, in. The. Norms. Of the, drug war and. For. Them these. Are kids like the 16 year old who we interviewed this is normal this is what it is it's, a process that gets. Worse over time the, arms race that Neal, describes. Experiencing. Personally, this is how it plays out over a process of decades, and. What's interesting is these two hard gangsters, the. The guy who'd been shot three times and the. Mister. Done in the mouth they. Looked at the 14 15 year olds who they knew on the street now I'm are like whoa. I mean. We, did some stuff but, these kids now they're crazy, they. They're. Just they, and they looked on with horror and fear like real fear, about. What the. Process, the, arms race had produced. We. Asked we. Asked the kid the 16 year old how. Long would it take for you right now to, get us a gun if we wanted one it, said about two. Hours maybe. An afternoon, you. Know whole afternoon maybe we. Asked the the older. Guy the 70s, guy who had literally been shot several. Times what. Would how would you have gone about getting a gun in your day he. Said well what I would have had to have done is go. To one of the older gangsters, one of the older heads I mean like look I've got a beef I need, a gun and they, would have sent having a gun if, you shoot somebody you'll, have you'll bring the heat on us you'll bring the cops, down on us if, you have a problem with the guy go. Knock, the hell out of each other a bit and, sort it out but don't bring the police involved, don't get the police involved and. This. The, way that. The. Older gangsters talked about the kids the kids today it. Was actually genuinely terrifying, genuinely. Chilling and. For. A a. Window. Into this distorted. Emerging. Dystopia, of what the future holds if we proceed with the same policies, all that, uh then. He'll jump in okay. Yeah so. We talked, about county lines everyone heard of county lines drug deal so. So in the UK County, lines drug dealing is the children being involved in the supply of heroin and crack fits primarily those two drugs but there's some of the drugs as well and it's. Basically about it's, about expanding monopolies, in the city gangs wanting, to take over the businesses, of other. Of, other towns so very one watching, this from America, it's, about the United Kingdom finally catching up with the, amount of children exploited in America for drug dealing because it's. A sort of inevitability. I say. It's inevitable, though but, actually when I look at county lines and what's happening that's, my fault. Because. When, I caught the bergerbar boys they. Were adults who. Were taking over the drug supply in one town from. The larger city but. They were doing it themselves, they, were hands-on they were doing the dealing they, were carrying the money that were stashing the money and transporting. It all themselves but, successes, like mine and other, police, successes, have, meant that the natural, strategic, response to that police success, is, to start using children, and that's what's happened it's a logical step, this, is what success looks like you.
See Police are really really, good at catching drug dealers brilliant. At it what, the world across. The world they are if. You give UK, police twice the resources, they can catch twice the drug dealers it's true. But. Police never reduce the size of the market. Never. You, catch a burglar burglaries, will go down because there's a limited people limited. About people willing to commit that crime. If. You catch a drug dealer you create an opportunity for somebody else and. Often you create the violence because then there's competition for that opportunity and, there's. Nothing that completes police, can do about that so. The truck harder you try the worse things get. So. They, eat the children, dealing in county lines that's caused, by trying, to police drugs. So. We now have you know we've gone we've talked about the British system and heroin, being controlled by the prescription, pad it's now being controlled by as we've heard 15. Year olds with hand grenades this. Is the reality on the streets and it can only go in one direction. But. There's something else I need, to explain to you all again. For the British audience is everyone watching line of duty or you know about it yeah, well. For the Americans, it's a it's a cop show which exposes. It's a drama which exposes corruption which, some people think is far-fetched well. Let me tell you it's. Not necessarily. Far-fetched certainly not the corruption. If. I go back to camis, story in Nottingham. The person he introduced me to. Rather. Vicious, guy. I called States he interviewed inter he, interrogated, me with a knife pressed into my groin it's. A terrifying experience but, he he, got me closer to the gangster, that I wanted to go I didn't actually get the gangster I wanted that, took another operations, a bit a few months later Colin. Gunn was caught the. Head of the Bestwood cartel in in Northampton, a brilliant operation, by, Nottingham. Sure police. But. At the time that I was introduced to that guy States two, of my backup team went off sick and. So. Two new police officers were brought in that I didn't know, the. First one of those I shook his hand that was fine the, second one shook his hand and the, hairs went up at the back of my neck. Instinctively. Everything, about this guy screamed. Wrong now. When you've been working at that point I've been working, that job for four and a half months you're, working undercover years sensors tend to be fairly. Fine-tuned, and I, was picking up on just some nuance of body language that made me very unhappy, so. I spoke to the guy running the operation I said boss I cannot have this guy knowing what I'm doing I do not trust him so. They were both excluded, to save them asking any questions and they didn't know what I did that day it. Turns out when, Colin Gunn was arrested, that. This police officer guy. Called Charlie Fletcher. Was. An employee of Colin Gunn. Not. Just a corrupt cop he'd, been paid to join the police. Paid. To join the police by, the time I met him he'd been in the police for seven years he, was paid two thousand pounds a month on top of his police wages, plus bonuses, for good information I.
Was. Quite shocked even. Though I'd come across corruption, many times it was still on satellite but, senior, police said to me would. See. Of course this happens we. Know this happens, with. This much money involved how. Can it not happen. See. I say that police are good at catching dealers, they are. But. By tape by arresting, lots of dealers what you do is you thin out the competition and help the monopolization. So. The gangsters, who were, at the top of the tree they love the police taking out the competition because they're part of their empire grows, and. Where you concentrate, the wealth into fewer hands you, make corruption, more possible, because, there's greater wealth to do it and, let me make something perfectly clear. The. Only, form of criminality that can pay for that level of corruption is. The. Illicit drugs market, there's no other form of criminality that can corrupt our police and criminal, justice system like that, ten. Billion pounds a year the. Value of the UK illicit drugs market, that's a lot of money that can corrupt the system but. It is the mechanism of policing, it, that. Creates the monopolies, that allows that corruption to happen. In. The. In. The book I mean I've come across corruption, many, times. But. In, the book we interviewed, someone. Called Frank Matthews who. Used. To be a supervisor. Of people who went into the witness protection system. So. The, witness protection system, is in itself, a creation. Of the drug war because. Until we had the drug war, witnesses. Were not too scared to give evidence, but. Such of the stakes, and the value in the market, that. The whole system is being corrupted so if someone wants to give out evidence against the leading guns gangster. In an inner city that. Gangster has all the tools that they need to, try and intimidate that witness to prevent, them from giving evidence so. The witness protection system, is born. So. If someone perhaps. To avoid a chunk of jail sentence themselves, is willing to give evidence against, an organized crime group. They. Are given a new identity they're. Never allowed to see their family again or friends, they go to the other under the country they're given a new new name and everything. So. That people who don't exist. Out. There. But. What shocked us is. Well. Frank Matthews was able to tell us because he used to work within that is that. Even, that. Last defense, against organized crime the, witness protection system, even, that is corrupted. We. Were able to show that. With. Evidence from Frank Matthews in the book he. Was, a whistleblower from, the Metropolitan, Police.
Frank. Is not his real name. He. Had to, have. A false, identity himself, and you. Know he Frank spent a career fighting. The, the, highest echelon of organized crime but. The first time he felt that his life was truly in danger, was. When he was grassing up corrupt. Cops that's. When he assumed there was a hit on his, life when. He was most at risk. So. I. Think. I, hope we've established, the. Cause and effect here, and I. Hope we've established what, direction this is going in as each, generation goes, on. For. Every year, a decade. That this drug war is entrenched in. Our policy, it's, only going in one direction and. If. You look around the world you. Know the monopolization, of fact doesn't just happen in the UK it happens in other countries as well look. At how, Mexico. Goes. At war between the cartels. Go up to war with each other and then, eventually someone, has dominance and the, monopoly takes, over the. Biggest violence increases are when someone's actually caught like. Anywhere in the world but. You know in Mexico. The. Detection. Rate of murders, that the rate where a murder is sold is less than 1%, and that's. Because you're as likely to be killed by one of the police officers as, you are anybody else because they tend to work for the cartels. The. Corruption is spreading across the world you have now have narco. States in West, Africa just where the production. That the the, transport of drugs happens. Because. They. Have low economies, and they are easily corrupted. Corruption is spreading, and it is inevitable. Until. We take. Control of drugs by regulating, them so. I'm. Part of an organization an, international, organization. Called, the law enforcement, Action Partnership. It. Started in the United States which i think is very enough because they lumbered, us with this drug war in the first place, in. America, we. Have. Prosecutors. Chiefs of Police, lots, of former senior police, officers, in the, UK we have former. Chief constables, former mi5 lots. Of other former undercover cops like me and we're growing rapidly. We've just registered. Leap Europe, and Paris. Last. Year we launched leap, Scandinavia, and thank. You for the introduction earlier on crisp we, slightly changed our name since you've introduces. We used to be against prohibition we. Still are but we just have a better name so the way the law enforcement, Action Partnership so. Anyone. Watching from America please support leap, as. Much as you can and in. The leap and in UK it's much the same. So. I'm gonna see Niro from j/s if I've missed anything or. To. Sum up for us no. I think. That's. Open, up for questions yeah. Have, a chat there's, the political. Influence, from, the US that you mentioned that started this whole demise. Of the British system after, the world war 2 does that still exist today is, our drug policy still influenced. By what the US wants. Yeah. Well, that. The US influence. Reached. Its pinnacle and, a, fairly indelible, pinnacle. In 1961. With a treaty, the. United Nations, conventions. On narcotic. Drugs and that, was a treaty that everyone, had to sign up to really they'd. Spent a couple of decades winning everybody around to do that and it's interesting that that single treaty in the United Nations which forces everyone to follow the prohibition, model according, to the United States doctrine. In. The. Ditch, described, in the United Nations drugs are described as evil. It's. The only United. Nations. A. Treaty. Which, uses that word genocide. They, don't use the word evil so, genocides, not evil that drugs are so. You can see that even in the writing of the treaty that sort of moral judgments, written into it so. Each. Individual, nation state is actually quite limited into in according. To international, law in how, they. Shaped. Their own drug policy actually restricts, innovation, now but. That's starting, to break down because in 2001, Portugal. Which, the United Nations said at the time they were breaching the treaty Portugal.
Decriminalized, Drugs it's not a perfect system because organized crime still. Still. Controls the supply so they still have the same level of corruption but. People don't go to jail for using, drugs and there. They, wear as they used to have more deaths than us now, whereas. We have 50. Deaths per million they now have three deaths per million so you can see that a health based approach helps but, there are of course bigger, breaches of that treaty by, the United, States themselves, they, have several states which legally, regulated cannabis for adult use so they've broken the treaty which. Really so it's the United States which has open the floodgates that, means the rule everything's, on the table the, rules have already been broken Canada. Is just legally. Regulated cannabis for adult use right across the whole country so they've got even farther than the United States obviously Uruguay, does the same. Switzerland. Prescribes, heroin, like we used to do and as a result they've caught burglaries, in half and saved countless lives so. There are examples of, good, drug policy which is coming now. It's, almost like we're, starting to try, it cast off those. Shackles of the United Nations Single Convention in 1960, well. There's. An argument that the the, privatization. Of the prison, systems across the US has actually resulted in higher levels of incarceration, is. That a similar system you think is now playing out in the UK as we adopt a similar model and, do you think that's actually one of the driving forces behind behind. The rules, not changing. Yeah. Yeah. There's. A different type of corruption in America as well and and and that is like, so, corporate, corruption. And the, influence of both the. Financing, behind private prisons and also actually the president officers unions put, great pressure on politicians to, not change. The drug. Laws and and the reason for that is America. Has only 5% of the world's population they. Have almost a quarter, of the, world's prison population. One. In three black, families. Have a male adult, a male. Parent, in prison I mean this is absolutely, extraordinary from. The redecoration. Of the war on drugs from, Reagan at that time they had around 200,000, people in prison now they have 2.2, million. That's. An incredible, increase and it's all about the war on drugs and. It's. Made things worse because they have the highest opioid. Problem. In the world they have the biggest drug deaths it's, causing carnage you know there is another cause and effect there so. To answer your question there is a huge political influence, into in lobbying. In. The USA and it, is and one, of the many stumbling blocks to reform in the United States but, as to the question in the UK no we don't have that excuse, I think. Our private. Prisons have actually reduced in the last few. Years there was one closed I think we we don't, think I think there's only seven, actually, and of. Course the way that we the, system works in the United Kingdom there are limits to what financial, lobbying, can be done so, you're not going to have quite the same influence on politicians financial. Influence. So. We don't have the same excuse really our politicians don't I would say. The. Own sorry so I can I just jump. In and say there is a absolutely, indelible connection, between the war on drugs and, not. Sight they're, not the prison. Industrial complex that, they have in the states but, there is a massive, crisis, in UK prisons right.
Now And, it's worth remembering that over 50 percent of, prisoners, in the UK are there. For drug-related offenses. So, you get occasional, commentators. Across. The media I will not mention names but you, say well the war on drugs has never really been fought in the UK it's. An absurdity, because 50, percent 54. Over 50% of the prison population is there. Yeah. For drug-related offenses, there was a report. Just, just. The other day. In just two days ago about a new unit, a special, unit that has been formed to, combat police, officers, sneaking, drugs into prisons there's a drug crisis, inside, prisons, we can't keep drugs out of prisons how are we gonna keep them out of society. If. You come from me only with the, reading that Neil and I have done you, say oh there's a new unit to combat corruption, in the prison among, prison guards I give, it three. Weeks before that, unit is corrupted, too. So. The the that is the like you said is the. Unique. To the warrant to drugs, prohibition, policing, is that, creating. A market which can corrupt the institutions. Which are meant to combat it on that, level and it's, absolutely unique to the, war on drugs. Given. Given. America obviously tried prohibition. With alcohol and it failed pretty, badly did. You have any insight into why therefore there was such a drive to try not. Only prohibition within the states but outside of the states with with drugs because it seems that it's, an odd lesson to take from how they tried prohibition. With alcohol hmm. Interesting. The, prohibition. Of drugs precedes. Prohibition. Of alcohol so, the Harrison, narcotics Tax, Act was in 1914. Which. Is what made. Will. Be drugs, we now consider illegal illegal, inside. The United, States interestingly. This. Is my geeky historic, historian. The. First, American. Prohibition. Regime wasn't, instituted, in the United States it, was instituted in the Philippines. After. The. Spanish-american war. When. America took over the Philippines, and, it was an extension of that racist. Impulse. And. Discourse. In the u.s. that. Ah well there, are Asian, people, doing. These drugs we have to clamp down on it so, it was sort of when. We described. The. War on drugs as a process, of American. Imperialism. Cultural, imperialism and just imperialist. Imperialism. It's. Actually, if you look at this the, history of this and how it grew, it's. Quite literal. It was literally, a process of when America became an imperial, power and had. Colonies, beyond its own borders it. Instituted. Drug. Prohibition regimes, then. That. What they the, campaigners within the United States they tried to institute. It on the world stage. Internationally. Before. They banned. Drugs in America and of course the rest of world went went, well, we're not banning drugs, you don't even ban drugs inside America and was. Mainly the British saying that and so the Americans went oh right well we better we, better prohibit, folks in, America so that we can then, export. It to the rest of the world and that's that's the the. Process, by which it happens so, ya. Know lessons were learned. Yeah. Absolutely and another and another lesson, which of course should have been learned from alcohol, prohibition is, that actually there. Are various reasons why it came to an end but the most important reason is the public, realized, just. How much it, was corrupting, the police so. A year that Eliot Ness and that could they the untouchables.
The. Reason that he was called The Untouchables is because the press mocked him because, he did an interview and said well my team are untouchable so, the press had their fault that front pages, the next day saying finally. We found some cops which are untouchable so, that there's only 12 of them and that. And that's how he got the nickname and. It, was that knowledge of the corruption what it was doing to the system which actually turned, public opinion against it which, is why it's. So important, to realize, just the level of corruption and and, of course it's really difficult to highlight, the corruption because the home office, instructs. Chief constables, to maintain, public. Confidence of. Course that's important, if you lose confidence in the police then the fabric of society could, break down etc, well. I've got news for you Home Office the fabric of society is, breaking, down and, people are losing confidence, because, we're not being honest and we're not actually dealing, with the problems that exist so. Yeah please, please more. Wish more people that study what happened in the 1920s, in America. If. You had a magic wand what. Would be your first. Policy, and what do you think would have the biggest impact oh well, that's easy and and and it's it's easy for all for all reasons because it's already legal the Paula is already there we wouldn't have to change any law whatsoever, you. Prescribe. Heroin, liberally. To those people that need it so. You go back to the British system you. Do that overnight. 80%. Of the market for county lines drug dealing where children exploited would disappear, completely. Because. That's mostly about heroin. The. Crime that, that the the hardcore of those people who were who are having a problem with heroin commit, disappears. Overnight. Shoplifting. Stops. It. Sounds easy well it is it's in our history it's. There ok, ok it's a bigger scale problem now we're talking. 200,000. Plus people but. If you've got to start taking care of people, not. Everybody would need a person to, keep, on a, heroin, prescription. Many. People would have find the stability in their life to move on to then another kind of treatment, but, if you invest in the treatment even a fraction of what is spent and law, enforcement a fraction.
You. Would tackle the problem that law enforcement cannot, do and taking. Care of people's cheaper, than. Treatment treating them as criminals but significantly, so, that's the first thing I do then. You can start breaking all the other drugs into the individual. Regulatory, needs that, those drugs have because they're all they do have different regulatory needs you know cannabis, you, have to decide who, what, what strength product what type of product can be sold to whom um where and where. Can it be used so, much like alcohol really but, we can do better than we did with alcohol because, we can ban, advertising straight, away we. Can take out those kind of commercial elements and based it on a health based approach for. MDMA. For example. MDMA. Is not prohibited, because. It's dangerous it's, dangerous because it's prohibited, people. Are dying because that's unregulated, product, you pick at any death over, the last few years look. At what's caused it it's been caused because it wasn't MDMA, that they bought or. It's four times to strong. Regulation. Will save. Lives and, reduce harm. MDMA. Is ecstasy. You. Know in British, summer you might there might be a million people dancing. In a field on, a ton MDMA. Are. They deviant, or do they just like to dance in a field with. The help of a certain stimulant, and, if. You agree with me then you're part of the social movement and please, start passing on this information, to other people because that's how we win you, know we speak to a lot of politicians between. Us a great, deal and it's good to try and influence politicians, but. You're more important, because, you're part of the social movement. Yes. So given. The relaxation of the US, policy. With regards to marijuana, do. You see or what do you see is the biggest optical, obstacle, internally. Two are two changes that, you described in our in the UK drug policy the. Biggest obstacles, in the UK oh. There's. A future really interesting, complex question because it's it's really multifaceted. Isn't, it I say, in inertia with you well, what would be would. You is there an argument that actually journalism, is the biggest well I was. Gonna save that but yeah yeah, my profession, or a massive. Massive. Problem, I read out some quotes before of, these racist, quotes. From. The early, 20th century in the US and. Everyone. In the room just winced this way and. I've done I've done these events before and I've done much further and I've read out quote after quote after quote and there's this um, cringe. The. People go ah, people. Actually wrote that uh-huh. I. Addressing. My. Profession, the members of the media journalists, and editors who, are writing today right. Now in 25. Years maybe. Sooner, maybe ten years we. Will look back on how. Drug users are described today in. With. The same cringe. That. We today, look back at the racist language used to describe drug, users and people, who didn't use drugs as ethnic minorities in the early 20th century and I, warn people, estándar. Warned editors of that a lot because the way when, people talk about spice, zombies. It's, a it's the, dehumanization. Of. People who use drugs in the media that especially the tabloid, media, it's. A huge, toxic. Problem, yeah. And. The tabloid media has a particular. Because. Of the media landscape in the UK as a particularly it's particularly, strong it's a particular white here and politicians. Are particularly, scared, of crossing it, politicians. Are trailing public opinion at this point but. The media has media, is a huge toxic. Role, Annette do you think the organized, crime is successfully. Lobbying through corruption to, resist. Reform. Like. Of. A you, know corrupting, or pouring money into into resisting, this societal, change I would.
Say Yeah. That's. Inevitable, because of the very highest echelon of organized, crime and international, cartels, there, is a very, thin. And blurry line between. Genuine. Business and the. Money of. Of. The drugs markets because the drugs markets money, makes. The world go round you, only have to look at the scandal with HSBC a few years ago, they. Would they were seen to be laundering, huge. Amounts, of money, from the illicit drugs market and no. One was prosecuted. No. One no one was it. Wasn't even seriously, considered, so. There. Is an obvious interconnection. Because, money where money meets money at the top of the pyramid but, what I would say is as we, move forward and we will move forward because there are lots of innovations, happening across the world that. Influence, will become stronger because we're organ, we're, big, business of any kind field finds itself threatened, whether, it's the oil lobby. In America paying. Politicians, the. Same kind of thing will happen and it will be very difficult to spot I would. Say. Yeah. Well. I mean I've spoken to drug dealers and I. Explained. My position, on him they say expletive. Expletive expletive you're, gonna do me out of a job. Drug. The drug dealers, on a map on a big scale high-level, gangsters are far, more scared, of the reform movement and they far than they are of the cops mmm absolutely we will do much more damage. To murderous. Bloody cartels, across. Latin America than. The police there will hmm, it's, much more of a threat yeah, because they were not Pro cartel. They're, they, do bad things they're awful the, threats of them is through. A regulated, model not, through continuing, a failed system which is going to create even more dystopian. Outcomes, twenty. Years down the line thank, you so much thank. You. You.