Pubdate: Fri, 28 Jun 2002
Source: Times, The (UK)
Copyright: 2002 Times Newspapers Ltd
Author: Stewart Tendler
Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/find?207 (Cannabis - United Kingdom)
YARD CHIEF PRAISES CANNABIS LENIENCY
A POLICE experiment in relaxing cannabis laws was hailed as a statistical
success by one of Scotland Yard's most senior officers yesterday.
Ian Blair, deputy commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, said a pilot
scheme in Lambeth, South London, under which anyone found in possession of
cannabis was given a warning, had cut police workload and increased arrests.
Mr Blair told a meeting of the Metropolitan Police Authority: "It is
undoubtedly, in statistical terms, a success. We have saved about two man
years (of officer time)." Facing criticism from police authority members
about the scheme's implementation, he said there were 740 warnings for
cannabis possession between January and May this year, compared with 249 in
the same time last year. Arrests for cocaine and heroin had risen and 1,200
extra "stop and searches" for suspected drug offences were made.
He praised Commander Brian Paddick, the Lambeth officer who began the
scheme and is being investigated. "Whether the experiment is a success or
not, his achievement is being bold enough to take an innovative approach,"