London Council Will 'Not Pursue' Hard Drug Users

London Council Will 'Not Pursue' Hard Drug Users
Posted by CN Staff on June 08, 2002 at 17:59:21 PT
By Sophie Goodchild, Home Affairs Correspondent
Source: Independent UK
A radical policy calling for police to caution and not arrest hard-drugs users is to be introduced in South London. The proposal, drawn up by the Liberal Democrat-dominated council, would effectively see heroin and cocaine decriminalised in the borough of Southwark.If successful, this policy of non-arrest will be extended to the 14 other local authorities the Lib Dems control across England and Wales after their 2002 local election victories.
However, Simon Hughes, the Lib Dem Home Affairs spokesman, said there would be a zero-tolerance policy on drug dealers and anyone found in possession of guns or knives."We will ask the police not to pursue anyone for drugs but to have zero tolerance for use of guns and knives," he said."I hope Southwark will lead the way in trying to persuade the police to take a really tough line on dealers and people with weapons and step back from chasing drug users."In March this year, the Liberal Democrats became the first political party to back the legalisation of cannabis and the effective decriminalisation of hard drugs. Later this month, the Southwark pilot will be discussed at a national meeting of the party's newly elected council leaders. It is based on a pilot scheme carried out in Lambeth, where those found in possession of cannabis were cautioned and not arrested.Richard Porter, Southwark's community safety and support officer, said penalising recreational drug users was a waste of police resources, which should instead be used to target drug dealers and violent crime."As a paramedic, I rarely come across people who have had a bad time on drugs but I frequently have to treat the victims of knife attacks," he said. "I don't believe recreational drug users are criminals. The police are already under-resourced."Drugs charities said they would back the proposals if they were aimed at drugs users found with small amounts of drugs."This is in line with what we recommended to the Home Affairs Select Committee," said Roger Howard, chief executive of DrugScope."We would support non-arrest for possession of small amounts of any drug for personal use. Dealers must be targeted."However, the plan has been dismissed as "barmy" by the Home Office. Source: Independent (UK)Author: Sophie Goodchild, Home Affairs CorrespondentPublished: June 9, 2002Copyright: 2002 Independent Newspapers (UK) Ltd.Contact: letters Related Articles & Web Site:Drugs Uncovered: Observer Special Street Crime Falls 50% Falls in Cannabis Trial Area Police and Hard Drugs: The Cleveland Report Cannabis Campaigners Call for More Reform
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Comment #1 posted by Industrial Strength on June 09, 2002 at 22:34:27 PT
Well, they will be forced to eat those words. Both my native (England) and adopted (Canada, im an immigrant) lands seem to be realizing some sense.
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