A few weeks ago this blog reported on a significant development. The Drug Equality Alliance (DEA) had obtained a Freedom of Information ruling forcing the government to publish the draft consultation document on a review of the UK’s drugs classification system. You can read the full account of it here and here.
This was a very significant ruling, because it is strongly suspected to show that the government was aware in 2006 when Charles Clarke ordered the review of the drugs classification regime that they were aware the system was not fit for purpose. This goes right to the heart of the workings of the Misuse of Drugs Act and, not to put too fine a point on it, has the potential to totally undermine the whole regime.
Now of course, we don’t know what the document contains, we were promised the details would be released by a date earlier this week, but of course, we waited in vain. Finally today the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) sent the following communication to Darryl Bickler of the DEA:
Sent: Wed 14/04/10 8:57 AM
Subject: Fwd: ICO to Mr Bickler [Ref. FS50198230]
Re_ ICO to Mr Bickler re Decision Notice[Ref. FS50198230].html (7.6 Kb) attached
14th April 2010
Case Reference Number FS50198230
Dear Mr Bickler
The Home Office has advised that it has appealed to the First-tier Tribunal (Information Rights) against the Decision Notice in this case. The ICO has written to Mr Hardison advising him of this.
Should you require any further information please contact:
First-tier Tribunal (Information Rights)
GRC & GRP Tribunals
PO Box 9300
31 Waterloo Way
T: 0845 6000 877
F: 0116 249 4253
Mrs H Jarman
Senior Complaints Officer
FOI Team 2 Police, Justice and Taxation
So the ICO or the Home Office kept everyone waiting as long as they possibly could before informing them that the Home Office had decided to appeal against the ruling to reveal the information.
What this will do of course is to delay the publication of this damning information until the election is safely out of the way. As we speculated in the last blog, the last thing this government wants is for the issue of drugs to become an issue in this election. If this document contains the information we think it contains, the whole mess that is the UK’s drugs policy would have been exposed, it simply couldn’t have been allowed to happen.
The fact that the establishment is acting in such an underhand way and is clearly desperate to keep this information secret speaks volumes.
Will any of the party’s fighting this sham of an election ask probing questions about this? Not a chance.
** Edit 18th April – I had called the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) the Freedom of Information Office (FOI). I’ve corrected that mistake. Thanks to Darryl Bickler for putting me right.