Police in Wiltshire England have decided to combat drug trafficking by taking suspected drug dealers into custody and confiscating their designer shoes.
“In the past few weeks alone, officers working to smash dangerous drug gangs have taken around 15 pairs, said Det Con George Booth. Brands range from high street labels like Nike to trainers worth hundreds of pounds by designer labels Armani and Giuseppe Zanotti,” the Gazette & Herald reported.
According to Detective Con George Booth the people “seem to hate” it when police take their shoes and force them to leave custody wearing a pair of cheap black plimsolls instead; however, the police want to get the message out that they’re “dealing robustly” with those they believe bought their shoes with drug money.
London groups have a market with heroin and crack in Wiltshire towns, and the gangs often use children and dependent drug addicts to help them. Booth said even after being arrested, the young people often continue running drugs even when released under investigation. However, he believes taking their expensive designer shoes away under the Proceeds of Crime Act is a better deterrent since designer shoes and clothes can be a status symbol for many of them.
To some, it may not seem like a big deal if the police take shoes from suspected young thugs. However, if police are allowed to use the Proceeds of Crime Act in this way, it could set a precedent that has a far bigger effect than the rights of alleged drug dealers. This is allowing police to seize private property from UK citizens before they’ve been found guilty in a court of law.