When the drug was legalised, local business saw a demand for the substance and opened what appear as coffee shops, so by keeping in with the law, these shops can sell no more than 5 grams of cannabis to each customer. Because of the stricter drug laws on hard drugs such as ecstasy and heroin, coffee shops will not sell these substances. Up until recently in England and Wales, Cannabis has been a Class C substance. However, recent laws have reclassified the drug to the higher, Class B group. They input a 'three strike' system. This means that first the drug user is cautioned with a warning.
A second offense would incur a fine of i?? 80. Arrest and prosecution occurs on a third offense, with a maximum prison sentence of 5 years. Six years ago in England and Wales, cannabis accounted for 15% of all seized drugs. However, now it accounts for up to 80%. Crimes such as shoplifting, burglary, and crimes on vehicles fall under the acquisitive category. The level of this type of crime fell by 55% between 1997 and 2007. (Source: recorded crime figures) This follows the introduction of the UK Drug Interventions Program. The DIP tackles drug crime by working with the offenders whose crimes are drug-related.
According to 'NTORS at two years' by the Department of Health, the DI Program means that more than 1,900 offenders who have a history of known drug abuse are able to obtain treatment every month. The main difference in drug laws is that the Netherlands consider drug abuse as a public health problem, not a criminal once, hence why it comes under the Ministry of Health, unlike England and Wales where it comes under the Ministry of Justice. This idea is shadowed in the drug-abuse help organizations. In England and Wales, the slogan is "just say no" whereas in Holland it reads "just say know. "
As for prostitution, England and Wales seem to have taken advice from the Netherlands laws, and are more interested in helping prostitutes give up their trade rather than imprison them for it. This strategy came together in 2004, and promotes key aims; prevention to stop potential prostitution, tackling demand by removing the opportunity for business, finding alternative routes to help 'victims' of the crime, ensuring justice is brought to those people who exploit prostitutes for their own gain and tackling off-street prostitution where victims are usually found to be young or have been trafficked.
To tackle the demand for prostitution, the British Home Office Minister Vernon Coaker visited the Netherlands in June 2008. In 2000, the Netherlands introduced a licensing scheme for brothels, which means that prostitution involving consenting adults is not a criminal offence. As published on the Home Office press website following his visit to Amsterdam's 'red light district', famous for its brothels, Mr. Coaker explained that better practice needed to be put into place in England and Wales, to tackle the cause of prostitution as well as its effects, much like he had witnessed in Amsterdam.
Figure 1. Image of De Wallen, Amsterdam. Wikipedia. org, 2009. The Netherlands are more interested in helping criminals as opposed to imprisoning and punishing them, unlike England and Wales. This may explain why the prison rates in the United Kingdom are considerably higher than the Netherlands, shown in figure 1. There are obviously other factors that contribute to the prison rates. Crime levels have little to do with prison rates, as a substantial number of long-term prisoners committed their crimes 10-30 years ago, so it does not reflect the current crime rates.
So other than drug-abuse and prostitution, which has been addressed previously, what are the motions put in place to help reduce street crime as a whole? The Netherlands are currently tackling crime on public transport, which figures show has increased slowly since 1963, when conductors were removed from buses and trams. The types of crime include vandalism and sexual offenses, i. e. dogging. In 1984, the Netherlands addressed this problem by introducing young unemployed citizens to monitor behaviour on the public transport services.
When reviewed again in late 1987, it showed a significant reduction in violent crimes. The measures are still in place to crack down on petty crimes, in particular the vandalism of the vehicles. In spite of this, the implementation of Close Circuit Television (CCTV) has never been considered. In the Netherlands, it is considered to be an invasion of privacy. The aspects being tackled currently in England and Wales are community safety, drug and alcohol related crime, gun crime and youth crime. In recent years, the amount of gun crime in England and Wales has dramatically increased.
Figure 3 shows the number of recorded crimes involving firearms since 1998. As we can see, gun crime has increased by almost 6,000 since 1998. And according to these figures published by the Home Office, there were 59 firearms-related deaths in 2006-07 compared with 49 in the previous year – an increase of 18% in one year. The gun crime statistics for the Netherlands are considerably lower. Although 85,000-120,000 illegal firearms are owned in the Netherlands, compared to 80,000 licenses firearms, the number of gun crimes in the country over the last 3 years has stayed constant.
There have been 30 crimes for every 100,000 people. In Amsterdam, it was 72 per 100,000 showing that the larger cities have more gun crime, such like the UK where London, Birmingham and Manchester show higher rates of gun crime than others, see figure 3. There are about 4. 2 million CCTV cameras in the whole of Britain. The implementation of CCTV in England and Wales has recently evolved. In 20 areas across England and Wales, CCTV cameras have had a microphone added to them.
This means that should an operator see a crime being committed, they are able to communicate with the offender. The aim is to reduce crime being committed but so far no statistical data has been recorded. An example of this system is when a person is seen dropping a can of drink on the floor. The operator will tell them to put it in the bin and tell them where the closest bin is. According to the BBC News England website, many people who have been 'spoken' to by these cameras have indeed done what it said.
The government's privacy watchdog, the Information Commissioner, recently published a paper that reflected the views of 1000 London residents. It portrayed that almost 86% believed the UK society was turning into 'big brother' style society, based on the popular reality television programme where people are left in a CCTV camera filled house. Limitations There are many limitations to carrying out a comparative study. Sometimes it is possible to find statistics for one year but not the same year for the other country.
Another problem is that many crimes go unreported to the police and some reported crimes aren't actually illegal, so the statistics may not be completely accurate anyway. People will only report crimes if they know how to, i. e. which phone number to call and whether it was an act of criminal or lawful behaviour. This can also affect the outcome. However, the main limitation obvious to this report is that of the lack of primary resources. All resources used in this report were secondary, including journals, books and the internet.
However, comparing England and Wales to the Netherlands makes it slightly easier as they are so culturally diverse and a lot of information is accessible for each system. Conclusions Major conclusions, refer back to original aims, recommendations to change. In conclusion, the Criminal Justice System of England and Wales is noticeably different to that of the Netherlands. The Dutch laws are considerably more liberal, which seem to work for their relaxed and open culture. Because of this, drugs, alcohol and sex are not taboo subjects as they are in the UK.