A group of UK police chiefs are planning to effectively decriminalize drug possession, including cannabis and cocaine. If adopted by the government, low-dose recreational drug use and possession would be treated as a first-offender public health problem, rather than a crime punishable by prosecution, imprisonment, or other punishment.
Developed by the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) and the Police University, the proposal would effectively decriminalize the possession of Class A drugs, including cocaine, and Class B substances, such as marijuana. Under the plan, individuals arrested for illegal drugs will be offered the opportunity to participate in drug education or treatment programs rather than being prosecuted.
Police will not take further action against anyone who agrees to complete the program and will give them the opportunity to avoid a criminal record. A person who is detained is still subject to criminal prosecution.
Former NPCC drug officer and former Deputy Chief Constable, Jason Harwin, is working with the Police University on a new partial decriminalization strategy.
“No one should be criminalized for drug possession,” he said in a statement. quoted by Telegraph“It should be a distraction to other services to give them the opportunity to change their behavior.”
14 out of 43 police forces in the UK have already adopted policies similar to the country’s police chief’s proposal to decriminalize drugs. However, the plan is at odds with the Conservative government, which has proposed tougher penalties for recreational drugs, including cannabis.
In October, UK Home Secretary Suella Braverman considered strengthening the classification of cannabis under the country’s drug laws over concerns that marijuana is a gateway drug and could lead to serious health problems. A Braverman review has prompted law enforcement leaders to reclassify cannabis as a Class A drug, which falls into the same category as drugs such as heroin, cocaine and ecstasy. It was in response to what was requested.
Braverman opposes the decriminalization of cannabis, saying efforts to reform cannabis policy send a “cultural” symbol that marijuana use is acceptable. according to reports from TimesThe Home Secretary is also concerned about evidence that cannabis use can lead to serious physical health problems such as cancer and birth defects, as well as mental health conditions such as psychosis.
A stricter Class A drug designation for cannabis makes the penalties for marijuana offenses tougher. This includes up to seven years in prison and life imprisonment for marijuana producers and suppliers.An unidentified source close to Braverman said Times The Home Secretary believes harsher penalties are justified as they act as a deterrent to cannabis use and trafficking.
“We have to scare people,” she reportedly said.
In July, then-Secretary of the Interior Priti Patel announced proposed new sanctions against cannabis and other drug users. This includes the confiscation of driver’s licenses and passports under the new Three Strikes Policy against illegal drug use.
“Drugs are the scourge of society as a whole. They ravage lives and tear communities apart,” says Patel. said in a statement from the government. “Drug abuse endangers lives, fuels crime, serious and violent crime, and results in the grotesque exploitation of vulnerable youth.”
Under the proposal, detailed in a white paper drafted by the Home Office, anyone caught with illegal recreational drugs would face fines and compulsory drug education. You may also be prohibited from entering nightclubs and other entertainment venues.
“Drugs ruin lives and ravage communities, so the government is committed to addressing both drug demand and supply as mandated by the 10-Year Drug Strategy,” said a Home Office spokesperson. said in a statement to the press. “Our white paper on new tougher penalties for drug possession presents suggestions for addressing demand and we welcome feedback on this. We will publish our responses in a timely manner. is.”
But supporters of drug policy reform and health professionals are resisting the government’s proposed tougher approach to drug use. On Sunday, more than 500 public and health and drug organizations issued an open letter to the UK government expressing “serious concerns” about the plan.
Professor David Strain, chairman of the British Medical Association’s Scientific Committee, said the government’s plan would “promote ever tougher sanctions, perpetuating the stigma and shame that already act as a barrier to individuals seeking help.” By doing so, it appears to double down on a model that has failed, and ultimately deter drug users from seeking much-needed medical services.”