Street gangs get the blame for drug-related violence, but leading figures are starting to blame the middle classes
Middle class cocaine users are hypocrites for caring about the ethics of some goods they consume but not others, says Cressida Dick, Metropolitan police commissioner, in the Guardian.
What it means: UK street prices for cocaine are among the highest in Europe, but that's not stopping people from consuming more and more of the stuff – around 875,000 took cocaine in the UK last year, a 15% rise on the year before.
It comes largely from Colombia, Venezuela, Peru, and Ecuador, and is smuggled through Spain or European hub ports like Rotterdam.
Police have historically targeted street gangs, but leading figures are starting to say they should look at the main source of demand instead: middle class users and the organised networks that support their cocaine use. "The big market isn't street-level users, it's 'people with money to spend," drug policy lead at the Police Federation, Simon Kempton, said.
Dick's point was centred on the inconsistency of people caring about their effect on one supply chain but not another. "They happily think about global warming and... organic food, but think there is no harm in taking a bit of cocaine... there's misery throughout the supply chain," Dick said.
A few months ago, justice secretary David Gauke said middle class people should feel 'a degree of guilt and responsibility' for teenagers murdered in Hackney.