Monday, 2 July 2012

If You Want To Know The Truth, Ask A Policeman

Counterfeit tobacco seized in Hastings, October

Back in May, I pointed out that the government's consultation on plain packaging was relying solely on evidence from the tobacco control industry. The evidence review was produced by them, and judgements of the effectiveness will be decided by them.

Nothing from the retail and packaging industries who will be negatively affected, and nothing from law enforcers or border control who will have to cope if illicit trade increases as a result.

It seems Lansley doesn't want to hear the police's views, for example, simply because they are of the opinion that it's a bloody stupid idea.

Peter Sheridan, former Assistant Chief Constable of Northern Ireland, had this to say just over a week ago.
... plain packaging will create a bizarre situation - where branded cigarettes are the tobacco products of choice on the black market. If we hand the control of branded goods to criminal gangs, we could actually be aiding them in their illegal trade.

We mustn’t rush into introducing plain packaging. This well-meaning proposal, intended to make more of our young people safe and healthy, will actually make it easier for criminals to threaten the well-being of those closest to us.
This was followed on Friday by a letter to The Times signed by 24 former high-ranking police officers.
Sir, Plain packaging risks fuelling tobacco smuggling. We are concerned at the possibility of the Government introducing standardised packaging of tobacco products. We do not wish to get involved in the public health debate. However, our concern is very much on the impact that it could have on crime and in particular on serious organised criminals who are the target of the major law enforcement agencies.

Tobacco products are relatively small, high-value items and are smuggled in extremely large quantities, depriving the Treasury of billions of pounds in tax revenues. Those who smuggle tobacco products are often involved in other forms of serious criminality. The introduction of standardised packaging would make it even easier for criminals to copy and sell these products to the unsuspecting public, including children. This would place further pressure on already stretched law enforcement agencies and at a time when the Government needs to secure much needed tax revenues.
And, today, former Commander of Specialist Operations at New Scotland Yard Roy Ramm chipped in at HuffPo UK.
It has long been claimed by some that there is a connection between the brands on cigarette packaging and youth smoking. If this connection is proved to be correct, if the only branded cigarettes in the UK become illegal imports, then instead of the government's plans protecting children they will be driving them into the hands of organised crime to buy the branded products they desire.

I think it's really important that before there are any major changes to the law that the public are aware of just what a serious conduit counterfeit cigarettes are for serious and organised crime, and how plain packaging is simply going to make it easier for these groups to operate.
Now, that's a consistent message being sent out loud and clear by those who know the counterfeit trade more than anyone else. Certainly more than the soundbite peddlers and PR manipulators of tobacco control.

If Lansley is true to his word and is looking at the issue with an open mind, there is your truly expert opinion on plain packaging, sunshine.

In most circumstances, such strong noises emanating from the police would mean dangerous plain packs tomfoolery would be squashed sharpish. If the government really cared about kids getting hold of tobacco, it's a no brainer. However, with politicians as spineless and easily-gulled as we are condemned to be led by, you wouldn't bet a brass farthing on them using their common sense and shelving tobacco control's latest exercise in salary justification, as they definitely should.

It makes you wonder who, exactly, is in charge these days, doesn't it?

UPDATE: More objections from a cross-party group of MPs here. Early froth-mouthed commenters are not regular ConHome visitors, I suspect.


johnd2008 said...

Thing that puzzles me about plain packaging, is how you will know that you are getting the brand that was requested. How will the stores know they need to restock whatever it is, and how will they know they are getting the correct delivery. Common sense says that there must be markings on the cartons somewhere even if it a bar code.

Edgar said...

If they can do it, they will do it. Then, after massaging some statistics, they will say: 'This is what we did.' It won't be stopped, Dick, because the incompetent morons must have something to show for their 5 years in 'government'.

Mag01 said...

Oh..…. gee…. I can imagine the hissy-fit - the screams and
spittle-stream - coming from Simon Crapman. Crapman is the “expoyt” here. Plain
packaging is a “no brainer”, which could be so given that Crapman’s possession
of a brain is in doubt. Crapman would be screeching that plain packaging only
has upsides and, being THE “expoyt” – the smooth operator of Tobacco Control,
would have to conclude that these police geezers don’t know what them’s talking
about; what would the poh-lease know!


It’s just like when the Tobacco Control Industry expoyts
were warned that pushing for extortionate taxes on tobacco would foster a
contraband market - a fairly straightforward concept, one would think. But not
straightforward for the TC unintelligentsia “Hogwash”, proclaimed the expoyts.
When it was impossible to deny that a contraband market was flourishing, the
expoyts simply denied that it had anything to do with extortionate taxes on
tobacco. According to the expoyts, the contraband market coincidentally popped
up out of thin air and was now thwarting the “good” work of the Tobacco Control


You couldn’t make this stuff up if you plied yourself with a
concoction of hard liquor and magic fungi. At the very least, these expoyts -
these utter nitwits impersonating sane people - need to be directed towards radical,
intensive psychotherapy; maybe discounts could be offered for large-group
sessions. Or they might be required to acquaint themselves with the offerings
of a State correctional facility for the damage they have already wreaked. And
the bureaucrats, politicians, and pharma shills who enabled these disturbed
minds that constitute the Tobacco Control Industry shouldn’t be too far behind.

Mark.S said...

How long before the police end up on the funded by the tabacco industry list?

The Free Corps said...

I would have thought by now,intelleigent people would have called it quits
discusssing and chattering with the control Czars and health fanatics..
Total waste of time ,absolute pointless excercise
They will not allow anyone to question their ambitions
Nobody matters,nobody counts, reason,justice ,democracy discarded,demolished,destroyed.
If we want change we will have to leave our sagging perches and do some
pecking and pruning
Before I nbble some more Millet
A little snippet about our non smoking friends on Board the Queen Mary 2
cruising between New York and Southampton
In one (1) crossing the "smoke free" liner coughs out the same as
100,000,000 smokers in a week, much more toxic fumes too.

Another morsel from down under OZ, the anti smokers Nirvana
Official figures show PER PERSON, OZ is the biggest toxic pollutant on the
planet allowing for the .0001% contribution from tobacco.

Room with a view

Jax said...

I think the plan is that the brand name will still be allowed, in a standard size and typeface on the boxes

shelldon said...

Conservativehome blog

PatNurse said...

Thanks, Jax. Yes, this is the case, but counterfeiting is easy-peasy if it's only a tiny portion of a generic packet. 

Not that tobacco control are happy with even that, they still produced bent studies to hoodwink people. 

PatNurse said...

Yep, that's the state of modern politics, Edgar, I can't disagree sadly.

Dick_Puddlecote said...

Yep, that's the state of modern politics, Edgar, I can't disagree sadly.

Dick_Puddlecote said...

Yep, that's the state of modern politics, Edgar, I can't disagree sadly.

Dick_Puddlecote said...

There's 26 of them there to choose from. I imagine the daft Bath Uni twats are trawling the internet to dig up some dirt on them already. 

They'll have a problem with Roy Ramm though, as he is someone who has been singing from their songsheet in the past. 

Dick_Puddlecote said...

Ta, Shelldon. Duly updated. :)

Michael McFadden said...

Re the Queen Mary's pollution:  A single moderately large airport with 500 takeoff/landings per day produces in that ONE day....

Eight and a Half BILLION cigarettes' worth of Nitrogen Oxides.  Figures from FAA, EPA and US SGR data.


Citizen Smoker said...

Well noted Michael
Noted a few years ago
One American Airport produced in ONE YEAR more toxic air pollutants
than ALL smokers since Christoper Columbus set foot in the New World
in 1492
Q. Which Airport ?
While working on the BMW JetEngine  site outside Berlin I was rebuked for smoking, my excuse being I could not see the Non Smoking signs for
dense clouds of choking aviation fumes emitted from the engine test beds
half a mile away.
no it was not a fire hazard precaution,it was an Employee Health Policy
PPS Another jewel
Manchester (UK) Airport ENCLOSED Taxi Pick up and Drop Off Area

Lets face it ,the anti smoking band wagon has more Myths and fantasies than Jason and the Argonauts

The Oracle

Lynladd said...

"you wouldn't bet a brass farthing on them using their common sense ..."

No I wouldn't as they do not possess and common sense.  I am sure that is a prerequisite for being a politician! 

Ian R Thorpe said...

And we will be expected to stump up ever higher taxes to cover the cost of making the streets safe while in reality the boys in blue are all busy making sure we don't know if we are smoking B&H, Rothman's or Marlboro.

The contraband business continues to prosper in Accrington however. Whenever I go into a pub I can't help noticing someone furtively handing people little bundles plucked from a backpack in exchange for currency.