Andrew Boff AM: Thank you for that. [The Rt. Hon] David Lammy MP has stated that, “Most of these killings are being fuelled by a huge spike in the movement of drugs”, and that, “The police and our country has lost control of the drugs market”. Is it not time to take control of the drugs market so that it can be regulated? Is not it time to legalise to save lives?
Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London): You raised this question as well at the summit and the Home Secretary quite deftly did not answer the question.
Look, there are different schools of thought in relation to this. I am just not in favour of legalising drugs. I know the arguments that there are and the complexities in the issue, and I know that the during the Coalition Government the Liberal Democrats did some work around this area. I am not persuaded, but if there is expert advice that you can point to - and it is the national politicians who will make the decision in Parliament - then of course it is something for them to look into.
I am not persuaded that legalising drugs will lead to the sort of uppy sun lands that some predict it will do.
Andrew Boff AM: Are you open, therefore, for me to - with expert evidence - come and present the case to you for you to assess it?
Just for example, we know that cannabis is the most widely sold drug in London, but data released from the Home Office has shown that cannabis seizures have plummeted by 34% in the past five years, whilst class A drugs have dropped by just 12%. All the while, this city sees more and more violent crime. The police have effectively handed the cannabis market over to criminal networks, which is fuelling violent crime and exploiting young people. They are doing so as they know that no amount of resource committed to the police is sufficient to stop criminal gangs running this market.
Why is this a London issue? London has the highest proportion of young people who have taken drugs. A 2018 National Health Service (NHS) survey shows that 29% of 11-to-15-year-olds stated that they have taken drugs, which is 7% higher than the national average.
If I can present some more evidence to you, I would appreciate the opportunity, and I think many people who have experienced drugs-based crime, and drugs-based poor health outcomes as a result of the illegal drugs market would appreciate that opportunity to present the case.
Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London): Chairman, I will say I am very happy to meet with the Assembly Member and the experts he wants to bring along to meet with me and the Deputy Mayor [for Policing and Crime]. Of course, I am happy to meet with you.