As if irony was in short supply in the UK I now bring you a story that seems too coincidental to be true. A Home Office drugs expert has been arrested on suspicion of supplying crack cocaine.
Nigel Voden, a 48 year old senior civil servant, works in the drug and alcohol unit at Theresa May’s Westminster headquarters, was detained in a planned police raid on Thursday. A drugs and alcohol expert arrested for a drug offence does feel somewhat odd considering that it would be like a firearms tax expert being arrested for evasion. Yet this is the world we find ourselves in. An aide to Theresa May arrested for thing he was supposed to be helping combat.
Police swooped on the suspected crack den in a block of flats where Mr Voden lives in Harrow, north-west London. Unsurprisingly the suspicion alone was more than enough to see Mr Voden suspended, the Home Office confirmed.
A Scotland Yard spokeswoman also went on record to say, “We went to an address in Harrow as part of an ongoing investigation. Four men aged 18, 25, 37 and 48 were arrested on suspicion of possession of Class A and Class B drugs with intent to supply. All four were later bailed to come back to us in December.” The fact that all four of these suspected drug dealers were able to make bail is more than a little concerning but that is the way the world works, if you have enough money the problems go away.
Mr Voden was an immigration officer before joining up with Mrs May in parliament, and was chairman of the Home Office’s group for gay, bisexual and transgender staff.
Recently he had been championing and co-ordinating a project to potentially reform the cunningly named “late night levy” which was introduced in 2011. This policy allows local authorities to charge pubs, clubs and bars which want to stay open late. The idea of this policy when it was introduced in 2011 was to potentially reduce the number of drunk folks out in the early hours of the morning looking for a fight. The “levy” failed spectacularly, it just meant people flooded to the bars and clubs which were open later and actually did more harm to businesses than the people drinking.
The Home Office spokeswoman also made a short statement about Mr Voden’s suspension saying, “We can confirm a member of staff has been suspended. It would not be appropriate to comment further as it is now a matter for the police. The Home Office expects the highest standards of personal integrity from all its staff.”
That last sentence really does appear to be the sticking point. “The highest standard of personal integrity” can mean many things but being arrested in a crack den is probably not high on the integrity listings. This raid does somewhat bring into question what other members of staff in our government are doing on their off days though. You wouldn’t think there would be an enormous drug problem in the higher reaches of society, but it does appear that addiction touches us all equally. What this means for staff in government positions going forward we don’t yet know but maybe there will be a little more sensitivity towards drugs in these positions in future.