FBI stats reveal that in 2014 drug arrests were the single largest category of offenses with three times as many drug arrests last year as there were arrests for violent crimes. Interestingly, 45% of these were or 700,993 were marijuana related, and 88% for simple possession. Even though several states have legalised cannabis production, sale and consumption this marks an increase by 2% over 2013.
It is difficult to reconcile these trends with the averred purpose of policing to combat serious and organised crime. It also reinforces the need for police forces everywhere to work with a clear and agreed set of objectives. What the exemplary data collection and rapid processing by the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program shows further, is the serious need for good accounting and accountability systems. They underscore the need for the Cocaine Route Programme to ensure that measures designed to intercept drug flow have to be accompanied by rigorous accounting and accountability processes.