Opinion | Let the gangs wither and the state turn a profit

As a law enforcement professional, I was waiting impatiently for the government’s recommendations for fighting gang crime. I’ve been especially impatient to see what kind of initiative they would come up with to attack the root of the problem: the cannabis trade.

My disappointment when they announced what it was as great as my impatience had been.

Gangsters and the gangs they belong to are to be policed using the same old methods: longer sentences and larger stop-and-search zones. Since when has either helped any?

The right approach would have been to rob criminals of their source of income. Without money, they lose their attraction to potential members. Without their cars, their women and their parties all you have left are middle-aged men with beer guts wearing leather vests. 

Prohibition in the US taught us that if enough people want to get their hands on something, there is no ban that can stop them. By banning alcohol, America gave birth to history’s greatest criminal organisation: the American Mafia. 

We’re on our way to doing the same thing in Denmark. The gangs are growing and as they do, they grow more powerful. 

Do like the Americans did: end the ban. Use the money instead on prevention and treatment of the handful of consequences that cannabis has. 

Let the gangs wither, let the cops spend time on more important tasks and let the state turn a profit on the sale of cannabis. 

The author is a police officer.