UK: Cannabis Arrests Down 46% Since 2010
Traditionally, cannabis and the UK don’t get on that great, or at least, not where the government is concerned. However, things could be changing, slowly but surely. According to new statistics, arrests for cannabis possession in England and Wales have fallen by 46% since 2010, despite levels of cannabis use remaining the same.
To be more precise, cautions fell by 48%, and the number of people being charged with a criminal offence fell by 33%. The data was released by the police force under the Freedom of Information Act.
A MORE PROGRESSIVE APPROACH
So what is the reasoning? It is certainly not that cannabis users have become craftier, avoiding the watchful gaze of the law. In fact, arrests for possession with intent to supply have remained the same, reminding us all of the law’s vigilance. No, it would appear that the commissioners and chiefs of regional police forces are taking matters into their own hands, deciding that targeting non-violent cannabis users is a waste of everyone’s time. Instead of chasing people about because of a joint or two, they are redirecting recourses into fighting crime that actually matters.
Despite the official line of the Home Office, who maintain that and all instances of cannabis use should be investigated thoroughly, this trend of leaving users alone is one that is quickly spreading. More and more forces are reprioritising, as they realise leaving people to enjoy a bit of weed in private is not their greatest concern.
A great example of the sentiment comes from the Durham Police force, who were one of the first to adopt this more progressive approach. Last year they decided not to actively for anyone with an amount warranting personal possession, or growing a personal supply at home. They still have a zero tolerance policy for dealers.
When asked about the move, Chief Constable Mike Barton said: “"I'm not condoning drug use. I never have.
"It's freed up our staff to deal with things that are more important."
The legalisation debate is one that is gaining rapid momentum in the UK, with more and more people supporting legislation on both medical and recreational grounds. Despite this, the government is maintaining its position that cannabis is a dangerous drug with no benefit, despite them giving pharmaceutical companies license to produce medicine from cannabis.
It is refreshing to see action on a lower level, with police taking the initiative to stop actively persecuting users and instead focus on bigger problems. Of course, they are not giving people the green card; someone who smokes or grows weed will still be arrested if they do it in a blatant manner, but this is certainly a step in the right direction.
Written by: Josh
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