U.K. Police Chiefs Call for Decriminalization of First-Time Drug Offenses

U.K. Police Chiefs Call for Decriminalization of First-Time Drug Offenses
High Times

A group of police chiefs in the United Kingdom is developing a plan to effectively decriminalize the possession of drugs including cannabis and cocaine. If adopted by the government, the use and possession of small amounts of recreational drugs would be treated as a public health issue for first-time offenders, rather than a criminal offense subject to prosecution and jail time or other punishment. The proposals, which were developed by the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) and the College of Policing, would effectively decriminalize the possession of Class A drugs including cocaine and Class B substances such as marijuana. Under the plan, individuals caught with illegal drugs would be offered an opportunity to attend drug education or treatment programs, rather than being subjected to prosecution.  Police would take no further action against those who agree to complete the program, giving them a chance to avoid a criminal record. Those who fail to complete the drug program or who are subsequently caught with illicit drugs would still be subject to criminal prosecution. Jason Harwin, the former NPCC lead on drugs and a former deputy chief constable, is working with the College of Policing on the new partial decriminalization strategy. “We should not criminalize someone for possession of drugs,” he said in a statement quoted by The Telegraph. “It should be diversion to other services to give them a chance to change their behaviors.” Fourteen of the U.K.’s 43 police forces have already adopted policies similar to the drug decriminalization proposal from the nation’s police chiefs. But the plan is at odds with the country’s Conservative Party government, which has floated proposals to stiffen the penalties on recreational drugs including cannabis. In October, U.K. Home Secretary Suella Braverman revealed that she was considering tightening the classification of cannabis under the nation’s drug…

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Source : U.K. Police Chiefs Call for Decriminalization of First-Time Drug Offenses

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