A potent and effective global response is required to protect world citizens against the proliferation of illegal drugs and precursor chemicals, says National Police Commissioner General Khehla Sitole.
The Commissioner made the remarks while addressing delegates at the opening ceremony of the INTERPOL 2nd Global Drugs and Illicit Substances Conference in Cape Town on Tuesday. Over 400 delegates from 194 member countries, international organisations, the SAPS and South African Government Departments are attending the conference.
Sitole said the increase in drug use and drug trafficking continues to affect every region globally.
"This phenomenon threatens to cripple society and destroy its moral fibre, particularly that of our youth, who are the future leaders of our respective countries," he said.
The quantity of drugs seized worldwide daily, Sitole said, continues to increase.
"Illegal drug trafficking generates enormous profits for the illegal trafficker, the crop grower, the petty dealer in the neighbourhood, the money launderer and those who support them, as it generates immediate income and makes it an attractive substitute for legitimate employment," he said.
The purpose of this conference, themed 'Pushing new frontiers for more effective global drug enforcement', is expected to provide a fitting and significant platform to address new and emerging trends and patterns of illegal trafficking, cybercrime, virtual currencies used in the trade of illegal substances and narcotics trafficking, new psychoactive substances and the diversion of precursor chemicals.
The methods INTERPOL and all law enforcement agencies are devoting to enhance international capacities to efficiently respond to this criminality will also be under discussion.
The global conference brings together law enforcement officials, experts and representatives of key regional and international bodies play a crucial role in the fight against illegal drug trafficking, to gather and share high level expertise and experience to best curb this type of crime.
The South African Government has declared tackling the constant challenges of drugs, gangsterism and violence a high priority. Sitole said the conference further provides an ideal opportunity for the country to discuss with its global counterparts the wide range of existing government reforms and criminal justice programmes that have been implemented to turn the rising tide against crime and drugs.