Police Chiefs Set To Extend Soft Line on Drugs

  Police Chiefs Set To Extend Soft Line on Drugs

Posted by CN Staff on June 14, 2002 at 09:44:44 PT
By Jason Bennetto, Crime Correspondent 
Source: Independent UK 

Police chiefs are drawing up plans to extend the Lambeth experiment on cannabis to other parts of the country, despite growing criticism of the scheme. The move will see several forces in England and Wales warn, rather than arrest, many people caught with small amounts with the drug.It is intended to tie in with the Government's decision to relax cannabis laws, which David Blunkett, the Home Secretary, is expected to announce next month. 
Whitehall sources have confirmed that Mr Blunkett is still "minded" to reclassify cannabis from a class-B to a class-C drug, making its use a non-arrestable offence. Fines and jail terms for cannabis offences will be downgraded.The nationwide pilot schemes – which are being drawn up by the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) and the Metropolitan Police – will be similar to the Lambeth project. However, concerns that too many people were being let off without punishment in the south London borough will mean that police will continue to prosecute certain groups of cannabis users, including young teenagers, motorists and disorderly people.While chief constables were happy to see some people let off with a warning, they were critical of the "broad-brush" approach and have backed the more "graded" response to possession.The Home Office and police are also expected to use the media and advertising to emphasise that cannabis remains an illegal drug and dealers face imprisonment. The campaign is being launched in response to reports from Lambeth that many schoolchildren believe cannabis has been legalised.An Acpo spokesman said: "Acpo and the Met are looking at ways to build on the Lambeth experiment with a view to set up pilots in a number of forces across the country."The Lambeth experiment was devised by Commander Brian Paddick, the officer in charge of the borough, who has since been suspended over accusations that he used the drug and permitted others to use it at his home.Since its launch nearly a year ago, the scheme has divided opinion in the borough, which includes Brixton. A poll found that most residents were in favour, provided the police used the time saved to deal with other crimes, which was the scheme's aim. But a recent evaluation of the project by Deputy Assistant Commissioner Mike Fuller, head of the Metropolitan Police's drugs directorate, was critical of several aspects.Mr Fuller has warned the Home Secretary that the experiment has resulted in more schoolchildren smoking cannabis and encouraged drug dealers and users to visit the area. His criticism has apparently contributed to the decision to water down the project when it is tested out in other policeforce areas.Kate Hoey, the Labour MP for Lambeth and a former Home Office minister, attacked the scheme yesterday.She said: "It has attracted more drug dealers to the area and children are now being offered skunk cannabis [a strong form of the drug] and residents are being continually harassed by dealers."There is no reason why one part of London should be picked on for this experiment, particularly such a poor, deprived area."She was supported by Dr Clare Gerada, a doctor in Lambeth and director of drugs training for the Royal College of General Practitioners, who said that since the experiment was introduced she was having to deal with an increasing number of young people suffering from breathing problems and mental health issues caused by cannabis use."The dealers are much more visible on the streets now and you can smell cannabis much more often than before the experiment," Dr Gerada said. Note: Relaxed approach on cannabis possession will be rolled out to other parts of the country despite warnings about risk to schoolchildren.Complete Title: Police Chiefs Set To Extend Lambeth's Soft Line on DrugsNewshawk: p4meSource: Independent (UK)Author: Jason Bennetto, Crime CorrespondentPublished: June 14, 2002Copyright: 2002 Independent Newspapers (UK) Ltd.Contact: letters Related Articles & Web Site:Drugs Uncovered: Observer Special's Gone To Pot All Drugs and Let Me Have a Quiet Life Police and Hard Drugs: The Cleveland Report 

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Comment #12 posted by Hope on June 15, 2002 at 12:20:40 PT
Number 7
Try not to be too sad. Those good old days are indeed gone except in memory, where they live on in a way. The thing is, as long as we are alive, we can work on new good old days. 
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Comment #11 posted by BGreen on June 14, 2002 at 14:54:09 PT
Hard drug dealers in Amsterdam
Going out at night in the Red-Light district gives you a new perspective of the seedier nature of the area.We ate at a good restaurant in a bad location at midnight, in an alley off of one of the major streets, mixed in with the bars, sex shops, and glowing red lights.I watched a couple of guys standing across the alley, not saying anything, but watching people as they walked by. I didn't know if they were pickpockets or what, but I was at a table by the window, so I couldn't help but watch.Finally, a guy walked up to one of the people I'd been watching, and I saw the money exchange take place. The now obvious dealer turned his back to the alley and got the package ready while the buyer casually stood by a few yards away. Then the final exchange took place, and the guys resumed their places.There wasn't any kind of harassing going on, and it certainly had nothing to do with kids.I think these were the "legitimate" hard drug dealers, because the jerks trying to rip off tourists will walk up to you, usually as you walk over a canal bridge, and quickly and quietly hiss 'extacy, coke, speed, and opium,' which, as The Bushdoctor says in his book, The Smoker's Guide to Amsterdam, will get you "aspirin, baby laxative, drain cleaner and sugar."These same twits would have the cannabis concessions if the Dutch didn't allow the coffeeshops. In Amerika, we make sure the kids get harassed by the lowest of the low, and when our gov't can lie about the Dutch without ever setting foot in a Dutch coffeeshop, the kids will always be the victims.
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Comment #10 posted by Nuevo Mexican on June 14, 2002 at 14:43:36 PT
Seig Heil Bushistas!
While the U.K. comes to it's senses, the U.S. has lost it!Bush urges 'culture of service' to graduates at Ohio State commencement 
Fri Jun 14,10:27 AM ET 
BY LAWRENCE L. KNUTSON, Associated Press Writer Last paragraph:
Bush was invited to speak at the Ohio State commencement by representatives of the graduating class. But immediately before class members filed into the giant football stadium, an announcer instructed the crowd that all the university's speakers deserve to be treated with respect and that anyone demonstrating or heckling would be subject to expulsion and arrest. The announcer urged that Bush be greeted with a "thunderous" ovation.More at: STATE STUDENTS LOUDLY WARNED: 
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Comment #9 posted by krutch on June 14, 2002 at 14:29:25 PT:
Good Points about Decriminalization
I think they should legalize smoking and growing the herb. Then dealers would become obsolete. If I could safely grow my own I would never buy it from the street again. I don't think there would be much of a market for it anymore. It would become as worthless as tomatos.
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Comment #8 posted by Number 7 on June 14, 2002 at 14:22:35 PT
Quite true
decrim is only a step. I suppose if it happened I might have hope for the laws changing, though.The good old daze are gone. 
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Comment #7 posted by StickyResins on June 14, 2002 at 14:08:29 PT
face it
the current situation still makes users of cannabis go out on the streets to find it. If they would just have a place where people can go to purchase/smoke there cannabis this wouldn't be a problem. Decrim. is just a stepping stone.  It still creates a black market therefore it is not really a solution in my opinion.
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Comment #6 posted by The Troll on June 14, 2002 at 12:56:17 PT
once upon a time in america
I remember when it used to be like this in the US. If you were caught with pot the cop would throw it in the wind and confiscate your pipe or bong. No ticket, no arrest. I can't even remember how many times that was all it was. Even when a friend was busted at the boarder to Canada it was just a $75 fine. A non arrestable offense. No big deal.Don't try this at home now kiddies...
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Comment #5 posted by krutch on June 14, 2002 at 10:52:30 PT:
More Confused BS
What does this nonsense mean:"It has attracted more drug dealers to the area and children are now being offered skunk cannabis [a strong form of the drug] and residents are being continually harassed by dealers."How does she know more drug dealers are in the area? Did she do a survey?I suppose no school children ever smoked skunk weed before the Lambeth experiment. Damn this decriminalization. Our children are hooked on the kind bud now.Also, how are the residents being harassed by drug dealers? Are the dealers running up to them, shoving their MJ enhanced male breasts in their faces and forcing them to smoke weed?, or is it that just the mere presence of anyone who might be involved with the demon weed strikes fear into the resident's hearts. Better watch out for them. The pot turns them into gay perverts. Ed Meese says it makes you gay, so it must be true.It sounds like nonsense to me. Call me kooky.
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Comment #4 posted by cltrldmg on June 14, 2002 at 10:49:21 PT
This is Bullshit. Blunkett was supposed to announce 'relaxation' in March, then it was June. The Brixton experiment was supposed to be non-prosecution for all users, now they want to exclude it for certain 'groups'. The Independant a few months ago was saying how it was for legalization and had been the only paper that had consistently backed it, and since a few weeks now that people are having some doubts they're suddenly a lot less enthusiastic. Even after supposed 'reclassification' cannabis is going to be more illegal than heroin!I think this is all another big spin operation by the government, pretending they're liberal to keep the old left on their side and manipulating people throught the media so nothing actually happens.
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Comment #2 posted by Sandino on June 14, 2002 at 10:04:31 PT:

Hey jebya!
Where ya going with all those votes in your hand? I came across an interesting quote at "Impeach bush Online Petition""He who casts the vote decides nothing, he who counts the votes decides everything."...Joseph StalinSome current news: Virginia House Speaker (republican) vance wilkins resigns in scandal.
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Comment #1 posted by TroutMask on June 14, 2002 at 09:48:54 PT

Read between the lines
Kate Hoey, the Labour MP for Lambeth and a former Home Office minister, attacked the scheme yesterday..."It has attracted more drug dealers to the area and children are now being offered skunk cannabis [a strong form of the drug] and residents are being continually harassed by dealers."So you're saying that this can't continue JUST in this one location, right? If cannabis were decriminalized over the entire country or the entire world, then there would be no congregation of dealers anywhere, right? And since the price for cannabis would fall through the floor, there would be no incentive to sell it or entice children. This must be what she means.-TM
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