Letter: Harsh drugs verdict

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Two managers at a homeless centre in Cambridge have been found guilty of "allowing the supply of heroin" on their premises. Part of their offence appears to be their refusal, in accordance with a policy of confidentiality used by many charities dealing with vulnerable people and agreed by the trustees of this centre, to hand over to the police the names of people they had barred from the centre.

As a former chairman of the Board of Her Majesty's Customs and Excise, and therefore closely involved in the task of preventing illegal drugs from entering the United Kingdom, I have experience of the human and social evils of drug trafficking and the other criminal activities associated with it. I have no sympathy whatsoever with those who are responsible. But I must say that the law seems to have been heavy-handed in this case, where greater understanding of the difficulties of those running such centres, which must inevitably attract criminal elements, is called for.