Sections of Birmingham are becoming no-go areas where drugs gangs are effectively in control, a United Nations drugs chief has said.
Professor Hamid Ghodse, president of the UN’s International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), said there was “a vicious cycle of social exclusion and drugs problems and fractured communities” in some UK cities, and cited Birmingham, as well as Liverpool and Manchester.
The development of “no-go areas” was being fuelled by threats such as social inequality, migration and celebrities normalising drug abuse, he warned.
Helping marginalised communities with drugs problems “must be a priority”, he said.
“We are looking at social cohesion, the social disintegration and illegal drugs. 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.”
Prof Ghodse called for such communities to be offered drug abuse prevention programmes, treatment and rehabilitation services, and the same levels of educational, employment and recreational opportunities as in the wider society.
A Home Office spokesman said: “The Ending Gang and Youth Violence report published by the Government in 2011 sets out a comprehensive strategy for supporting local areas to reduce the effects of gang violence.
“We want to stop young people from joining gangs in the first place through intervention and support to children and families at risk of gang violence.
“This will be matched with tough and intensive enforcement action to bring perpetrators to justice.”