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article imagePolice chief calls for decriminalisation of personal use drugs

By Lynn Curwin     Sep 18, 2010 in Crime
The chairman of the Association of Chief Police Officers' drugs committee has proposed that the personal use of drugs such as marijuana be decriminalised in the UK.
Tim Hollis, who is also chief constable of Humberside police, said it is disproportionate for young people caught with small amounts of drugs like cannabis to end up with a criminal record, destroying their career before it began.
"We would rather invest our time in getting high-level criminals before the courts, taking money off them and removing their illicit gains rather than targeting young people,” The Guardian quoted him as saying. “We don't want to criminalise young people because, put bluntly, if we arrest young kids for possession of cannabis and put them before the courts we know what the outcome's going to be, so actually it's perfectly reasonable to give them words of advice or take it off them."
He that that said financial constraints meant it was important to direct resources towards tackling organised criminal networks rather than individuals carrying drugs for personal use.
"My personal belief in terms of sheer scale of harm is that one of the most dangerous drugs in this country is alcohol,” he said. “Alcohol is a lawful drug. Likewise, nicotine is a lawful drug, but cigarettes can kill.”
Professor Roger Pertwee, a leading researcher on marijuana, recently stated that policymakers should consider allowing the licensed sale of cannabis for recreational use, and that the current policy is ineffective.
Although the Home Office insists decriminalisation is not the right approach, the government recently studied the way some drugs have been discreetly decriminalised in Portugal.
More about Police, Chief, Decriminalisation, Decriminilization, Drugs
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