Speeches, Interviews & Other Statements

Complete list of 8,000+ Thatcher statements & texts of many of them

1985 Aug 9 Fr
Margaret Thatcher

Press Conference visiting New Scotland Yard

Document type: Speeches, interviews, etc.
Document kind: Press Conference
Venue: New Scotland Yard, central London
Source: Thatcher Archive: COI transcript
Journalist: -
Editorial comments: MT arrived at 1430 and was back at No.10 by 1700.
Importance ranking: Minor
Word count: 1324
Themes: Law & order, Terrorism, Voluntary sector & charity

Prime Minister

…   . some of you I recognise from having been at Heathrow this morning. We are seeing the slightly different aspect of it at the moment. This morning, we were seeing what they can do to stop it from coming in and how very good they were being at catching it. Here, we are dealing with the relationship with the whole criminal world and the wide variety of drugs which have to be caught.

Question

Mrs. Thatcher, could we start by perhaps you giving us your impressions of what you have seen this afternoon?

Prime Minister

Well, we have only been here just about an hour. Impressions? It is perhaps the most lucrative form of crime and the most terrible that the world has ever known—one of the most terrible in its fundamental effects and how rapidly it can spread if you do not stop it; and it is tied up with many other forms of crime, and that is one of the very great problems. [end p1]

Question

Have the police discussed with you at all about having greater powers perhaps to seize the assets of criminals?

Prime Minister

Well, that I indicated this morning. As you know, we are going to introduce a Bill in the next session of Parliament to seize those assets, so that in fact, those who get involved in this sort of crime will know that their assets and profits which they make from it will no longer be theirs.

Question

Mrs. Thatcher, how has it affected you personally, seeing all this drug paraphernalia and vast quantities of drugs that come into this country every year and every week?

Prime Minister

Well, it is not only the drugs which come into this country. It can of course be pharmaceuticals produced here …   . abuse of pharmaceuticals …

Question

But how has it affected you personally?

Prime Minister

How does it affect me? We were just amazed at the enormous variety that have to be tracked down, if we are to deal with this problem, because some of it is abuse of existing medicines which [end p2] of course were originally designed for a very constructive and helpful use to those who are ill.

Question

Did it make your stomach churn …   .

Prime Minister

It gives you a kind of alarm throughout the whole system that we have got to deal with this.

Question

Prime Minister, in the past few months, you have personally been targetting the terrorist, the football hooligan and the drug smuggler. Do you see these people as the greatest evils in our society?

Prime Minister

Well, they are three very obvious evils. They are part of the whole criminal scene. They are three things that we have seen grow, and they are three very obvious things, that among others, we have to deal with; but it is the whole of crime we are attempting to deal with.

Of course, when you come to terrorism, one of the tragedies is that it is the terrorists who abuse a free society and they have more freedom in a free society and therefore we suffer more from it than those who live under tyrannies, who sometimes use the methods of the terrorists to hold down their own people. [end p3]

Question

Prime Minister, how concerned are you about the extent of crime in Britain today?

Prime Minister

Of course, one is enormously concerned—always has been. That is why we put so much emphasis on giving increased resources to those who fight crime and thank goodness we did!

Question

Prime Minister, about the confiscation of assets. How would the law deal with people who transfer their assets to family members …   .

Prime Minister

You have to be able to follow them and you have to make agreements with other countries that you can follow them.

Question

I mean, a drug dealer in this country who …

Prime Minister

…   . you have to make agreements with other countries and you normally get cooperation from other countries that they can be followed. Certain monies that are derived from fraud can already be traced. [end p4]

Question

Some people say the Government is not seen to be doing enough to help those who are already hooked on drugs and you have seen some of the stories here today.

Prime Minister

Were you with me when I went down to see one of the centres to help young people who decided to come off drugs? It really was very heartening that all of a sudden they had decided that it was all such a total waste and it had brought them so low, that either they were just going to go on and deteriorate and there was nothing in life at all indeed, if there was any life—or they were going to make an effort to come out of it.

Now, there are a number of, often voluntary, agencies working in conjunction with Government help, but they take each person—each person matters—and you have got to make each person matter, and they help one another, and there are a number of places, perhaps not enough, where that is done, and the work they are doing is fantastic. And then, those young people who have come off drugs, some of them are the most ardent advocates in helping others never to get on them. I remember talking to one young man there who really just had drifted and drifted and drifted until he just became almost subhuman but just had enough will power left to try to get off it. One of the things in his case was that he actually wanted to be arrested—it was quite extraordinary—because he realised then that if he was, he then had a chance of professional help to help him get off it and then afterwards was passed on to the centre for helping young [end p5] people where I was; and he has tremendous pride now in an ordinary job and he will be, and is, a tremendous help with other young people if they are ever tempted to go on it. And these can be a tremendous asset to all of us who are trying to stop the spread of drugs.

I remember years ago there was a kind of cult where young people said: “I want to be myself. I want to get somebody to help me be myself!” It seems to me there is one thing which is obvious, or should be obvious: that the moment you take drugs, you cannot possibly be yourself. You can only be the drug.

Well, there are an enormous number of things to do. I am very glad I went this morning to Customs to see the fantastic work they are doing. Indeed, the wonderful work that is being done here and together, and we also are in cooperation, as you know, with every international …   . people in other countries … but it is a very big thing this, and it requires total determination and dedication to eradicate it and if we need fresh laws, as we do, in the next session of Parliament those will be introduced and I think that everyone from whatsoever side of the House they come will be adamant in wishing to give those new laws …   . get them through as fast as possible …   . so they can be used as a deterrent and here we are in New Scotland Yard, where the criminals have to be caught, and for that we need the cooperation of everyone: parents who see their children all of a sudden—and it is a terrible shock to a parent who finds a child taking drugs. We need their information and cooperation, because you need to build up a data bank which you can piece together, which will give you results, which you cannot get without those pieces. [end p6]

So we really do need the cooperation. If a parent finds a child taking drugs, they should not hold back, because they can best help themselves, and the child, by coming for help.

That is what I have learned today.

Question

Having seen all these aspects today, what is your Government's message to those who peddle in this misery?

Prime Minister

The same message as I gave this morning. We are after them. We shall not stop. We shall pursue them relentlessly. The judges are giving big sentences. The police will soon have powers to get all of the profits which have resulted from drug trafficking, so there is no point in going on.