We Don't Prosecute Ecstasy Users - Police Chief 

We Don't Prosecute Ecstasy Users - Police Chief 
Posted by FoM on November 24, 2001 at 20:56:19 PT
By Kamal Ahmed, Political Editor
Source: Observer 
One of Britain's most senior police officers reignited the debate over the policing of drugs last night when he revealed that first-time offenders caught with ecstasy are not being prosecuted, even though it is a Class A drug punishable by up to seven years in prison. The disclosure by Andy Hayman, the deputy assistant commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, comes days after another senior police officer, Brian Paddick, was rebuked for suggesting that pursuing cocaine and ecstasy users was not a priority. 
Hayman, the chairman of the Association of Chief Police Officers' drugs committee, said that it was usually better to caution first-time offenders rather than send them to court, which can cost thousands of pounds and means courts have less time to deal with more serious offences. 'If you've got someone for personal use, one tablet, maybe two, with no other previous convictions ... then rather than just push them through the criminal justice process - which could have negative effects on that individual - let's go about it in a different way,' he said. Hayman, who argued last week that he would favour reclassifying ecstasy if scientific evidence supported it, said that it was better to caution offenders and educate them about the dangers of drugs. 'We know from the experience of shoplifting and other offences that once they have had that deterrent, sometimes that is enough and they don't go back to it,' he said. Hayman denied that the police approach was a de facto reclassification of the drug from Class A to Class B, something the Home Office has refused to consider despite growing pressure for a review. 'We are not in any way minimising the seriousness and the dangers around that drug,' he said. His comments, however, were criticised by Valerie Riches of Family and Youth Concern.'What sort of message is this sending out?' she said. 'Youngsters will say that the police cannot touch them. It seems at the moment that if enough people break a particular law, then we just give up on it and try to tackle something else.' Police are also concerned that reforms of cautioning policy will lead to different approaches in different force areas. A report from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, to be published in the new year, will say that people involved in cannabis offences will be treated very differently depending on which area they are in. Source: Observer, The (UK)Author: Kamal Ahmed, Political EditorPublished: Sunday, November 25, 2001Copyright: 2001 The ObserverContact: letters Articles:British Police Prepared To Support Relaxed Laws Urge Radical Shift on Drugs Body Says Punishment Does Not Stop Use
Home Comment Email Register Recent Comments Help

Post Comment