Merseyside Police has denied claims made by a leading United Nations officer that Liverpool has drug related ‘no-go areas’ similar to South America, saying it “absolutely disagrees” with the suggestion.
In a report compiled by the UN’s International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) Liverpool was compared with Brazilian cities in the way that it had to deal with gun crime and narcotics distribution, although in the report itself Merseyside Police was actually praised for its initiatives to tackle problems.
However, the president of the INCB Professor Hamid Ghodse, spoke before the launch of the report and claimed the problems were much worse. He said: “In many societies around the world, whether developed or developing, there are communities within the societies which develop which become no-go areas.
“Drug traffickers, organised crime, drug users, they take over. They will get the sort of governance of those areas.
“Examples are in Brazil, Mexico, in the United States, in the UK, Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester, and therefore it is no good to have only law enforcement, which always shows it does not succeed.”
This is an astonishing comparison, as according to the British Crime Survey Liverpool’s murder rate has been as low as 29 fatalities in a year, which is stark in contrast to the 6,000 killings which reportedly took place in Mexico’s Ciudad Juarez in 2008.
The report and statement from the INCB also come after Merseyside Police finally cracked one of Liverpool’s most notorious drug gangs in Anfield in November last year, seizing hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of narcotics which were destined for the city’s streets.
In response to Professor Ghodse’s comments, a Merseyside Police spokesman said: “This report rightly highlights the good work that takes place here on Merseyside to tackle drug-related criminality and drug misuse, however we absolutely disagree that there are any ‘no-go areas’ in Liverpool or elsewhere in the county.
“We work with local authorities, schools, and other agencies to educate people at an early stage about the consequences of getting involved in crime and support them in taking a different path.
“Of course, globally, drug use and the crime it fosters is a societal issue and one that remains a challenge that we must all keep striving to meet. In Merseyside we continue to make progress and are proud of the inroads we and our partners have made in making our streets safer for everyone.”
Liverpool City Council Leader Joe Anderson added: “Anyone who knows Liverpool will not recognise the city from the way in which this report is being interpreted. The comparisons are fanciful and it is absurd to say any part of the city is a no-go area.
“We have made huge progress over the last few years working in partnership with the police and other agencies to tackle gun and gang crime and associated issues such as drug addiction.”