I do not intend to have an annual debate on decriminalisation. What I want to see is the emerging evidence. Some of the issues that are raised are sometimes on the basis of supposition and assertion and we will look at any clear evidence that appears. I have been considering this issue for quite some time, as I know that the right hon. Gentleman has, and the comments that I make this afternoon are made not because I am on the Front Bench or the Back Bench, but because they are honestly held views. We are simply not persuaded by the arguments on decriminalisation because we feel that it will increase supply, that it does not take account of the complexities of the drug problem-why people become addicted to drugs in the first place-and that it could make the situation worse. It is a question of looking at the outcomes of our policy.
The pilots around payment by results will be introduced during the course of this year. It would be premature to expect results over the course of 12 months. This is a five-year strategy-or a four-and-a-half-year one now. We will be considering not only the interim outcomes that will be produced by the strategy, but the evidence and the performance that sits alongside the course of the strategy as it is implemented. That is the responsible and sensible thing to do.
The right hon. Gentleman said that drugs have become a party political football, but I believe that they are becoming less of that. I certainly welcome some of the comments that were made this afternoon by the hon. Lady who speaks for the Opposition in relation to the approaches that have been set out in the new drugs strategy. I also appreciate the welcome that has been given to our proposals for dealing with legal highs and the temporary bans that are suggested in the new Police and Social Responsibility Bill. I hope that even this afternoon we are having a measured debate, even if we disagree on some of the themes and issues that are being debated. It is important that we have a sensible and measured debate, even if we may fundamentally disagree on some issues. At least it sets a measured framework around the discussion of some of these themes, which I know is sometimes difficult to achieve in debating what is a sensitive issue that often provokes a number of passions.
I would also take issue with the claim that the approach on enforcement is not capable of working, especially when one considers that the quality of cocaine on the streets is, in some cases, as low as 10% in purity at the moment. That shows some of the very effective work that is taking place, both in-country and also upstream back to places such as Latin America, where cocaine-from coca production-comes from, as I know that the right hon. Member for Coventry North East will know very well. When I visited Latin America at the end of September, I was very impressed by a number of measures that Governments in that region are undertaking, not only to tackle production but to undermine and take very clear action against the organised crime groups that do harm in this country as well as in Latin American countries. That co-operation between countries on enforcement and on sharing intelligence is a very effective way of responding to some of the organised crime groups, including seizing assets and using such powers more effectively to get at what is driving a number of those groups. I know that right hon. and hon. Members will have seen that that has been a theme that we have developed clearly in the drugs strategy itself.
The new drugs strategy is a critical articulation of our reform programme and work to tackle the key causes of societal harm, which include crime, family breakdown and poverty. It sets out a different approach to tackling drug use and dependence. The difference from previous strategies is the focus on the key aim of supporting and enabling those who are dependent on drugs and alcohol to recover fully, and the strategy places responsibility on individuals to seek help to overcome their dependency. Alongside our holistic approach to supporting people to overcome their dependency, we will also be reducing the demand for drugs, by taking an uncompromising approach to crack down on those involved in the drugs trade and shifting power and accountability to local areas to tackle the damage that drugs and alcohol dependence cause to communities.
The strategy sets out two high-level ambitions; first, to reduce illicit and other harmful drug use, and secondly to increase the numbers of individuals recovering from their dependency on drugs and alcohol. I think that we are seeing a changing pattern in what the experts would describe as polysubstance abuse; drugs are not being taken in isolation, but are being taken together. That is why it is important in the treatment framework to ensure that alcohol is part of that treatment platform. These ambitions will be achieved through activity that will encompass three themes: reducing demand; restricting supply, and building recovery.
On reducing demand, we will focus on establishing-