300,000 cannabis factories in the UK, worth £6 billion!
I actually think these figures are a little conservative, but using the figures that were broadcast on Drugs Live, we should consider what this means for policing.
There are two cannabis grows for every police officer in the UK.
It generally takes five cops to carry out a raid on an illicit grow site. If you add up all the staff hours for surveillance, searches, documenting evidence, interviews, paperwork etc., I would estimate around 100 hours of policing time are used for just one warrant. A lot more than that should the case go to trial.
If just one officer did all of the work on their own (they couldn’t of course, but bear with me), then it would take them two and a half weeks of constant work to do this. So if every police officer in the country devoted five weeks to this, could cannabis factories be wiped out? Of course not.
Most factories will never be found in the first place. The financial rewards involved mean that organised crime will always be more inventive than those seeking to shut them down.
For every grow that is dismantled another will crop up. Why? Because you cannot beat the demand, and you cannot beat the need. It’s like trying to collect water in a sieve.
Of course this is theoretical, back of a fag packet maths. Police work like this could never happen because the police actually have plenty of other things to do. This is an issue that should be considered more by policy makers. Every hour spent on drugs investigations is an hour that could have been spent on investigating rapes, or street robberies, or burglaries, etc.
£14 billion a year is wasted on drugs policing in this country, and that money could quite clearly be better spent elsewhere.
By Neil Woods