Sussex Police deny ‘turning blind eye’ to cannabis use

Posted On 26 May 2016 at 12:19 pm

By Matthew Enderby

Sussex Police has denied it ignores cannabis use after the police crime commissioner brought allegations made to her during her recent election campaign to the first accountability meeting of her new term of office.

By Nicholas L on Flickr

By Nicholas L on Flickr

Katy Bourne brought up the issue last Friday, at the force’s performance and accountability meeting.

And she also asked the force how many individuals have been charged and formally cautioned with possession of illegal substances in Sussex in the past year and how many of these charges specifically related to cannabis possession.

She said: “During recent months I have become aware of a general perception that the police service is turning a “blind-eye” to cannabis possession both nationally and in Sussex, despite it remaining a Class B drug.

“This is of concern to me given the correlation that exists between cannabis use, mental health issues and increased levels of anti-social behaviour and acquisitive crime.”

At the meeting, the force’s chief constable Giles York said: “It is quite clear that we have not turned a blind eye and we remain very active. But over and above that, where we really want to target our effort is with the dealers.”

Assistant chief constable Laurence Taylor said from 2015 to 2016 police carried out more than 7,900 stop searches in the county. Of these 4,900 were drug related and from those searches more than 1,700 cases were positive for drug possession.

Offenders are dealt with using a combination of cannabis warnings, fines, community resolution and arrests.

ACC Taylor said: “We work on the principle that if there are no aggravating factors, the person is not a child, and if it is deemed appropriate, we will issue a cannabis warning.

“Officers are reminded that arrest should always be the last resort for a first time offence and to make each decision subjectively.”

The commisioner’s chief executive and monitoring officer Mark Streater, concluded the drug related section of the meeting by asking about the potency of cannabis today.

He was shown that legal, chemical highs are of greater concern and will fall under the ban on psychoactive substances, which starts today.

  1. Anon Reply

    Oh, great. Another Tory moron who thinks she knows better than every drug advisor in the world.

    I’m glad the police turn a blind eye to it. They know they do it, we know they do it, and we, the people of Brighton, accept it.

    I would rather they were chasing down fighting chavs in West Street, or people scamming the elderly, or kids holding shops at knife-point, than arresting some hippy on the beach who just wants to chill out.

    Legalise, Regulate, Tax.

    • Bob a job Reply

      hear hear!

  2. C Johnson Reply

    They should turn a blind eye to cannabis use. And the absurd statement;
    “This is of concern to me given the correlation that exists between cannabis use, mental health issues and increased levels of anti-social behaviour and acquisitive crime.” is nonsensical in this context and unproven either statistically or scientifically…..I would add that prohibition has not been shown to address any of these issues raised no matter how tenuous the link may be. SO please let’s devote the limited police resources to actual crime.

  3. karen lucas Reply

    The law needs upholding

    • Shamus2 Reply

      No, the law needs scrapping. I trust you are not a racist or a supporter of big business paying off politicians, but these are the very reasons it was made illegal back in the 20th century.

    • Bob a job Reply

      In this case – The law is an ass.

  4. Peter Reynolds Reply

    The law against cannabis is based upon nothing but prejudice and bad science, deliberately exaggerated by the press to keep their big advertisers from the alcohol industry happy.

    If more people used cannabis and fewer people used alcohol we would save the NHS billions, we’d have a happier, safer and healthier society with less violence, less domestic abuse and fewer road accidents. This is exactly what has happened in US states where it has been legalised.

  5. Bob a job Reply

    Good! Concentrate police spending our money on actual crime please rather than persecuting regular folk who like to chill out of an evening or weekend. I would far rather precious police resources were used on tackling violent and exploitative crimes.

  6. Alex Reply

    People blatantly and unashamedly smoke cannabis on the street outside come of the hostels in Central Hove. Private hostels that the taxpayer pays to house people in. Police often attend these places and ignore it. It is as if it is complexly legal.

  7. Peter Reply

    Prohibition of Cannabis is insane, run by insane People, bullying non-criminals and making the law enforcement lazy and ignorant. puppets for the giant corporations.

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