Police and Crime Commissioner David Lloyd has hit out at middle-class drug users in Hertfordshire - and the impact they have on some of the most vulnerable children.
Mr Lloyd says affluent drug users in the county are more concerned about the supply of their coffee than their cocaine. And at a recent meeting of the Hertfordshire Police and Crime Panel (April 11) Mr Lloyd said it was an “outrage” that users of illegal drugs didn’t change their habits. “There are people in the middle classes in Hertfordshire who are really concerned that their coffee is fair trade, yet they don’t seem to care that their cocaine has been trafficked,” said Mr Lloyd. “It has been brought from abroad resulting in the slaughter of innocents, with youngsters being groomed for this in the same way as they are subject to in sexual exploitation.” Mr Lloyd said children were often groomed and then exploited by “evil” organised crime groups and treated as “utterly disposable”. And he said those who bought the drugs - singling out users of the most expensive drug, cocaine - didn’t see the associated crime that happens ‘round the back’. “These traffickers and dealers are out to make maximum profit and will use youngsters to do their dirty work,” he said. “It is an outrage that people don’t change their drug taking habits on the back of the misery they cause.” Mr Lloyd said it was a shared responsibility to ensure the reality behind the supply of the drug was understood. “Clearly we need to ensure the population understands the risks they take - not just for themselves but for others - if they have a lifestyle that involves taking illegal drugs,” he said. “That’s a cultural thing. It’s for all of us - not just me - to take that message out to people.” Meanwhile at the meeting Mr Lloyd stressed that despite a significant percentage increase in the past three years, levels of knife crime in Hertfordshire were very low - equivalent to around one a day. He stressed that the majority of those crimes related to carrying a bladed object rather than actual use. And - responding to a question about the prevalence of knife bins - he said it was important not to overplay the level of knife crime, as that could lead to an increase in the number of young people carrying knives. He stressed that most people who were seriously injured were people who carried knives. And he said the message had to be ‘stop carrying knives’. “We need to address the culture that has led to more people carrying knives,” he said.