"While dictators rage and statesmen talk, all Europe dances — to The Lambeth Walk."

Friday, 15 May 2009

Lambeth Council Pays Drug Dealers 'to Find Out About the Industry'

Lambeth Council, which runs the London Borough of Lambeth, has used hundreds of pounds of public funds to pay drug dealers and users to answer a survey on 'the extent of the area's drug problem'.

The Labour-run council called the answers 'intelligence about this most complex issue'.

The located addicts and dealers through a variety of sources, including social services and HM Prison Service.

Once found, the dealers were promised anonymity and offered a fee of up to £50 to answer a series of questions. These included how much they earn, the quality of the drugs they sell and 'what they thought of the local area'.

Even after it was revealed that some of these creatures earn up to £5,000 a week peddling misery and death and carry weapons or have very easy access to them, the council stated in its published report:

'We would like to extend a special thanks to all the sellers we interviewed for the candour and patience with which they described their activities to us.'

Mark Wallace of the Taxpayers' Alliance sums up my reaction pretty well:

'This money has gone straight into the coffers of organised crime. This would not seem such a 'complex problem' if Lambeth would stop pussy-footing around crime and start enforcing the law by helping to bring drug dealers to justice rather than paying them.'

Lambeth Council was criticised earlier this year for handing a list of its empty properties to squatters, and in November last year for paying £90,000 to send reflexologists into schools to massage the feet of unruly pupils.

A Lambeth Council spokesman said:

'This was a complex issue and we needed detailed intelligence to tackle it which is why we interviewed dealers as part of our research.
'In line with good research practice, a small payment was offered so that people would take part.

'As a direct result of this research we've been in a better position to tackle the drugs market and 15 percent fewer residents now perceive drug crime to be a problem.'

Was a complex problem - apparently it's not now so they have no excuse not to solve it. I look forward to seeing how that works out.

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