If you ever want to create an immediate fire storm place on the agenda, even the idea, of an examination of drugs policy.
Former WA Police head honcho Karl O'Callaghan has done exactly that today.
Here is part of his statement from Perth Now:
“I’ve spoken about a whole range of structural changes and they are ideas, they are not solutions,” he said.
“So for argument’s sake there has been a lot of discussion about cashless welfare, there’s been a lot of discussion about access to alcohol, access to substances, how we treat families that have got substance problems and now one of the latest debates that has come up, and one worth pursuing as a community, is do we look at decriminalising simple possession of some of these substances and look at a better health response to some of these things?”
Mr O’Callaghan said he was unsure what the impacts of the move would be on the WA Health system but other jurisdictions around the world had claimed success after going down that path.
“I think we have to now start thinking about some of these wicked problems differently,” he said.
“Two thirds of all the money spent in Australia on combating the methamphetamine problem goes on law enforcement.
“But if you look at the usage statistics, with all that effort that’s gone in there and all of the thousands of kilos of the drug that’s been seized, we actually haven’t changed the usage rates very much and we have to ask ourselves as a community, ‘is there a different way to do this?’
“I’m not suggesting that decriminalisation of possession is the answer, but it might be, or partly might be.”
Politically the problem is and has been that if you broach the subject and the possibility of a lightening of drugs policy the opposition political party has a giant stick to hit the other guys over the head.
Many people around the world have said the war on drugs is lost, maybe a bloke who's family has been touched by the scourge of drugs and has seen it all on the front lines of policing should be listened to.