Drug War Desensitization
February 2, 2004 4:17 AM   Subscribe

"A pint? That'll be three quid and a criminal investigation." From Fark. What's the line in the sand? Is there one?
posted by effugas (20 comments total)
 
So what's the chances of finding everyone in a particular pub have no clue about the implications on this for civil liberties?

I was reading last week that Dictator Blair was contemplating introducing into law mandatory drug tests on those suspected of having taken heroin, with a new crime being created of 'having taken heroin'; not posession, but consumption!

Future Headline: Fascist State Built in Britain While Natives Look On, Grinning Like Idiots.
posted by Blue Stone at 4:41 AM on February 2, 2004


"They do feel safer going out in these places because they know that the particular element that may use drugs are not going to be there."

Ironically, I feel safer avoiding the chain pubs in town knowing the the particular element who use alcohol are all in there.
posted by vbfg at 4:45 AM on February 2, 2004


PC : Excuse me, sir, would you mind awfully if I checked to see if you had any illegal drugs in your system?
ME : Yes. Yes, actually I would mind.
PC : Oh, got something to hide have we? Perhaps we should continue this conversation down the station ...

Just a matter of time ...
posted by kaemaril at 5:10 AM on February 2, 2004


PC : Excuse me, sir, would you mind awfully if I checked to see if you had any illegal drugs in your system?
ME : Yes. Yes, actually I would mind.
PC : Oh, got something to hide have we? Perhaps we should continue this conversation down the station ...

Just a matter of time ...


This is exactly what happens with DNA testing in the UK right now.

Of course, that's not enough for some.
posted by biffa at 5:30 AM on February 2, 2004


I wonder what happened to the beer sales in the pub - did they increase or decrease as a result of this little exercise?
posted by spazzm at 5:47 AM on February 2, 2004


PC : Excuse me, sir, would you mind awfully if I checked to see if you had any illegal drugs in your system?
ME : Yes. Yes, actually I would mind.
PC : Oh, got something to hide have we? Perhaps we should continue this conversation down the station ...

Just a matter of time ...


This would be in contravention of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 as well as Article 5 of the European Convention on Human Rights so therefore contravening section 6 of the Human Rights Act 1998.

I'm as concerned about civil liberties as the next person but let's keep a sense of perspective here shall we?
posted by dmt at 5:53 AM on February 2, 2004


Sense of perspective? No. DMT - surely you realise that what happens in law and what happens in practice are two very different things.

If you've ever been stopped and searched by London police - as I have, three times - then you will know that refusing to submit to a request is enough to get the police officer to start saying that you must have something to hide.

You are given the choice of agreeing to their request or being arrested - and most people choose the former, because we don't want our lives further complicated by being arrested (for example, being arrested can make entry into the USA under the waiver scheme much more difficult.)

In a truly free society, the police wouldn't be able to randomly search people at all, never mind test them.
posted by skylar at 6:01 AM on February 2, 2004


Everyone in the pub on Friday night agreed to be tested and were all found to be clear.

And the owner was in on the deal with the police. This is about the most unsurprising result ever. Had they come at any other time, I wonder if things might have turned out quite differently ...

This is an diotic move by the coppers (& the BBC for giving it any credibility). The same cannot be said about the pub owner or patrons, who are probably still laughing.

I hope so, anyway.
posted by magullo at 6:03 AM on February 2, 2004


A pint for 3 quid. Well that demands a criminal investigation of its own.
posted by seanyboy at 6:07 AM on February 2, 2004


Sometimes I get the impression that the english-speaking peoples are, these days, handing totalitarianism just enough rope that it may hang them, to paraphrase a famous man.
posted by clevershark at 6:38 AM on February 2, 2004


Skylar, the link isn't talking about stop and search which is and of itself very contravertial at the moment.

What happens in law and what happens in practice are, necessarily, intimately bound up in one another. While this idiotic scheme is dubiously legitimate within the context of the public house manager asking his clients to willingly submit, it is of a different order of magnitude to the danger to civil liberties posed by section 4 of the Anti Terrorism Crime and Security Act 2001, so with all due respect, you're wrong. It's vital to retain one's sense of perspective on such matters.
posted by dmt at 6:56 AM on February 2, 2004


section 4 of the Anti Terrorism Crime and Security Act 2001

I think you mean Part 4. Section 4 deals with freezing of accounts.
posted by biffa at 8:59 AM on February 2, 2004


with a new crime being created of 'having taken heroin'; not posession, but consumption!

Well, if it's in your bloodstream, don't you possess it?
posted by kindall at 9:25 AM on February 2, 2004


Sense of perspective:
Civil liberties attacked on various fronts by various schemes under various justifications.

The problem isn't the individual situations. The problem is the idea that its okay to attack civil liberties at all. Step back and look at the whole picture, there's your perspective. When governments think they can make such attacks they are out of bounds, and all sage advice suggests that this must be met with the most vigorous protest, government being a dangerous thing that should not be allowed out of control.
posted by Goofyy at 9:31 AM on February 2, 2004


Kindall - apparently not in the UK. I quote from Ecstasy.org -

"The law refers to possession, and it has been established in a case where a man admitted to swallowing illegal drugs that he was no longer in possession, even after the police had his stomach pumped and the contents analysed. The judge said that the man was no more in possession of the drug than someone would be in possession of glass of whisky after they had drunk it."
posted by skylar at 9:32 AM on February 2, 2004


this idiotic scheme is dubiously legitimate within the context of the public house manager asking his clients to willingly submit

dmt - You seem to underestimate what's going on here. This is not a case of new "house rules", but of an initiative by the police - that is, by the state - to submit everyone, every law-abiding citizen, to a test on the presumption that they might have done something wrong in the past, for which we will now catch them. This is a dramatic change in the way that police go about tracking crime, and a very disturbing one at that. And even if this were an initiative of the pub manager, it wouldn't be legitimate since (a) it's the police doing the checking and (b) it's none of the pub's business whether you've got traces of drugs in your system (though I suppose that private establishments might be able to make the argument that they refuse entry on grounds of having done drugs in the past. But I still don't like it).
posted by Dasein at 10:02 AM on February 2, 2004


kindall: no if it is in your bloodstream you don't posses it

Definition of Possession according to M-W
1 a : the act of having or taking into control b : control or occupancy of property without regard to ownership

So when it is in your bloodstream you no longer have control over the substance (that you previously possessed).One may argue that if it is in your body, it is in your possession as well , but something in your body isn't necessarily in your control because it is in your body therefore it is not necessarily in your possession(control)

Even if you figured out a way to introduce it in your bloodstream to later retrieve it , it still shouldn't be criminal to POSSES a drug, but it should be criminal to give it to others for free or for a price as you don't want to damn the user, you want to stop the practice of giving it away : this way one could legally possess and consume a drug for his personal use as long as there's no evidence that he has sold or gave away for free the drug to anybody else.

Obviously, when you're cultivating a field wide of *some plant deemed to be a dangerous drug* there should be a reasonable suspicion you're not going to use it for personal use, but you plan to give it away ; therefore it would be reasonable to set a limit to the quantity one can posess in a period of time for personal individual use.

On preview: skylar quotes an interesting judgment ; the judge found that the man was not in possession, and he's damn right about that, as the courier couldn't possibily control how the capsule behaved inside his body ; but as soon as it is outside the system you're back in control and one could be charged of being in possesion again, but this time it was the police that pumped it outside, so not for a moment was the courier in possession of the drug after he ate the capsules.

Given that he could always say the he was forced to swallow them and he was probably not a previous offender
the judge reasonably cleared him, as sometimes couriers that take such a risk of death by poisoning aren't but the least important persons in the drug business.
posted by elpapacito at 10:15 AM on February 2, 2004


The problem is the idea that its okay to attack civil liberties at all.

Not to "blame the victim", but the problem is also that people allow their civil liberties to be attacked, without a tick of resistance. If everyone in the pub had refused the test, what then? Haul the whole lot in? What if they tried this in every pub on a given night, and every single person said, "no thank you, now I'll get on with my pint."?

The sad truth is, most people don't care. They'll let the authorities take hair samples and cheek scrapings as much as they want, as long as some sort of crude entertainment is available to them. They'll gladly give up their fingerprints and social security numbers for a McDonald's gift certificate. And when you complain, you're just another conspiracy wacky, raving about something that only people with something to hide are concerned about.
posted by majcher at 10:16 AM on February 2, 2004


I'm with seanyboy: a pint costs three quid nowadays?
posted by MiguelCardoso at 4:58 PM on February 2, 2004


biffa: mea culpa - you are of course correct

Dasein: Sorry, but I still don't buy it. The landlord's comments indicate that this was his choice to do - this wasn't forced on him by the local constabulary. If it had been, then I could understand your quivers from under the duvet. And even if it was the local police's idea, so what? They've no power to force a landlord to take part in such a scheme and no ability to action any of the results which they glean.

As mentioned before, under the stipulations of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 the police simply cannot go about detecting crime in such a fashion. Your refusal to undergo is not a reasonable basis for a little chat in the stationm and this reasonable basis is taken very seriously indeed at the moment.

Look, I'm this isn't a trend that we should want to see encouraged but we're not taking about the first steps towards a Gattaca type world here. Rather, I would suspect that this is a idea concerned with occupiers' liability regarding drug sales conducted on the premises.

Miguel: The three pint is alive, well and oft spotted round London these days....
posted by dmt at 9:30 AM on February 3, 2004


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