Thursday, July 23, 2009

Home Office designates drug posession as 'victimless' crime

It is interesting that the Home Office Statistical Bulletin 'Crime in England and Wales
2008/09, Volume 1: Findings from the British Crime Survey and police recorded crime'
published this week, notes (p.33):

"The BCS excludes.... those crimes termed as victimless (e.g. possession of drugs)"

'Victimless' is an interesting phrase, not one used in jurisprudence, that is essentially political - tending to be flagged up as part of moves towards criminal penalties being removed (it rather reminded me of the old 'no victim, no crime' cannabis campaign stickers). Its inclusion here perhaps reflects the wider trend towards acknowledging personal drug use is not rightly the subject of criminal sanction even if it is the subject of social or state disapproval in one form or other. This is more than a purely intellectual trend as actual or de-facto decriminalisation of personal possession and use of drugs taking place in much of Europe and around the world.

Where this leads intellectually is also an interesting question; if possession and consenting adult use is not criminal, what are the implications for commercial drug transactions between consenting adults, that also have no obvious victim? The statistical crime bulletin could very soon be largely just blank pages.


Anonymous said...

The term 'victimless crime' is nothing new. This is how the Police record crimes that do not have a specific victim. The most common of these victimless crimes are certain public order act offences and the drugs offences.

Blair Anderson said...

Just because and act is legal does not make it laudable.