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Pubdate: Fri, 28 Jun 2002
Source: Times, The (UK)
Webpage: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2-340418,00.html
Copyright: 2002 Times Newspapers Ltd
Contact: letters@the-times.co.uk
Website: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/
Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/454
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," he said.


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