The British Home Secretary has called on police to renew efforts to tackle drug abuse

British Home Secretary David Blunkett has called on police chiefs to renew efforts to tackle the menace of drug abuse.

Speaking ahead of his speech to the Association of Chief Police Officers' annual conference, Mr Blunkett said that the police and the government have achieved a lot, but "the law abiding citizen expects us to do more".

He urged police chiefs to redouble their efforts and make sure that new measures and resources are being used. Tools to help the police do their job include the Criminal Justice Interventions Programme which targets offenders who commit crimes to fund their drug habit. It is receiving £447m funding over three years.

The Home Secretary also highlighted the importance of police reform and modernising the workforce.

"We will do our bit by working with chief officers to have clear national standards and local priorities, to continue to remove unnecessary paperwork, and continue to give the police the up-to-date powers they need to do their job most effectively," he said.

Mr Blunkett went on to say that helping the police to be more responsive and accountable to the public is a key part of increasing confidence in the force. Community support officers are playing a key role in this. He also said:

"We need to look at the configuration of forces to allow police to tackle crime most effectively at all levels. While we are not rushing into structural changes, we are looking at whether the current force structure is the right one.

"But we are not interested in change for change's sake - we are clear that any changes should bring about clear benefits to local people and in the battle against organised crime."

Mr Blunkett said the government is committed to establishing the Serious and Organised Crime Agency and giving greater powers to Basic Command Units, "but these reforms will only be effective if we get it right at force level".

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