PCC Candidates questioned about drugs policy

e-mail sent to all PCC candidates:

Dear PCC candidate,

I am writing to request your position on drug policy. I am interested to know, as a prospective Police and Crime Commissioner, what would be your priorities if you were to be voted in to the position?

In a recent survey by the United Kingdom Drug Policy Commission (UKDPC) it was found that 75% of incumbent MPs do not believe our current drug strategy to be an effective policy. There’s a growing call from scientists, politicians, medical professionals, senior law enforcement, the International Federation of Red Cross, to cite a few of those who seek an empirical evidence based approach based on science, health, and human rights.

There has also recently been clarification from the Crown Prosecution Service with regard to Sentencing Council guidelines, which now state that those with debilitating illness and chronic conditions are to receive discretionary clemency with regards to medicinal use of cannabinoids.

With this in mind, I would therefore ask you to describe your approach to drug policy, your attitude to the enforcement of drug laws, and what priorities and reprioritisations you may have. I would also ask you specifically to comment on your position on medicinal use of cannabis, defined in the previous paragraph.

With kind regards

NORML UK

www.norml-uk.org

Replies from PCC candidates

Avon and Somerset Pete Levy Liberal Democrat 

Dear Des

I’m really sorry. I thought I’d replied to you and just realised it hadn’t gone. This is an area about which I feel strongly. I have put up a blog on my web site but here is the copy I’ve used:

Treating drug and alcohol addiction as a health, not a criminal issue is a good starting point in reducing re-offending. The amount of acquisitive criminality (crimes in which an offender acquires or takes items from another person) that result from drug addiction, the cost to businesses and individuals, the pressure on support networks and, most significantly, the impact on the lives of victims is staggering. Drugs are an issue that need tackling now.

Giving evidence at the House of Commons Select Committee earlier this year, the celebrity Russell Brand spoke candidly of his own addictions and experiences with drugs. His approach being that addicts should be treated and dealers should be punished. He also outlined a widely held believe that investment in treating addiction now will ensure significant savings in the future.

It’s time to make my views on this absolutely clear. This constructive approach must not be mistaken for a soft approach to those that break the law. Wanting a strategic approach to continue reducing the effects of drugs and alcohol addiction on society doesn’t affect one significant fact. That is, that the law exists in its current state and the Chief Constable, responsible for operational policing, will direct his officers to uphold the law. He will ensure that anyone breaking the law will be dealt with and brought before the appropriate body. I will work with him and his team as well as partnership organisations to ensure that our laws are upheld and our communities are safe. We will collectively do all in our power to maintain the current overall trend of improving crime figures.

I have read of candidates declaring a ‘zero tolerance’ on drugs. This is an empty two-worded political slogan without substance. We need to support upholding the law as it exists whilst looking at root causes of acquisitive crime.

It is about education, prevention and rehabilitation, not just punishment

Regarding the issue of medical use of cannabis, this isn’t an area that we need to spend valuable police resources chasing! I’ve had a couple of meetings here in Bristol with Danny Kushlick from the Transform Drug Policy Foundation and I think there is a lot more to be done to turn the tide on this and start to lead the way rather than fall behind.

I’ve also outlined the need for a policy officer. This is a post we had on the Police Authority staff to advise regarding existing legislation but i think we can be more proactive and this is contained in my manifesto (attached)

There will be occasions when we will need to look at legislation and how the effective policing of it impacts on our communities and resources. I anticipate having a dedicated Policy Officer within the PCC’s office to maintain a watch on emerging legislation but also allowing us to work with the Chief Constable and other Police organisations to challenge and lobby for changes to existing legislation as appropriate.

Hope that clarifies the situation and sorry again for the delay

Best regards

Pete



Liberal Democrats
Freepost RSKZ-STLK-BUYA
Bristol BS7 8ND

Greater Manchester Roy Warren Independent
Police and crime commissioner elections

As a current magistrate and past Chairman of the Trafford Bench I have a wealth of experience in dealing with the judiciary, police, Crown Prosecution Service and all other related agencies incorporating detection, sentencing, punishment and rehabilitation of the criminals who blight our society.

Arming the Police:

The very recent and tragic incident which resulted in the loss of two brave and dedicated police officers highlighted yet again the contentious question of whether our police officers should be routinely armed. I make no apology for unequivocally stating that I am totally opposed to officers being armed and I believe that is also the strongly held view of the overwhelming majority of police officers. Tourists to this country often express surprise that the bobby on the beat does not carry a gun. That is something to be proud of and a reason to protect the status quo. Despite being opposed to armed police I do believe the police and the general public should be protected from criminals who routinely arm themselves with a variety of weapons, including now machine guns and hand grenades. I believe the public can play a vital part in assisting the police by reporting any suspicions or first-hand knowledge they may have of weapons being held by criminals or gang members and I would look to encourage that. I also think that much tighter controls should be introduced at our ports to prevent the smuggling of guns, especially from the eastern European countries. I strongly support tougher sentences for gun related crime but that of course is a matter for parliament.

The Drugs Debate:

Despite a growing opinion that some drugs should be reclassified I do not support that view. Drug dealing and addiction lead to an escalation of associated criminal activity, particularly in acquisitive crime such as street robberies and burglaries used to fund drug habits. The police and Her Majesty’s Customs do an excellent job in detecting drug importation and prevent much of it reaching the streets. They will receive my unstinting support in their continuing war against drugs. However, I do feel there should also be a greater understanding of the misery and spiralling effect of drug addiction and would certainly support greater resources being directed at drug intervention and rehabilitation programmes.

An Englishman’s Home is his Castle:

Another current topic of debate and one that certainly polarises opinion is the right of the householder to defend or protect themselves from intruders. I do not believe that a change in the law is necessary, simply a sensible interpretation of it. A threatened householder is entitled to use reasonable force to defend their home and family and that should continue. The public perception has been that the law errs on the side of the burglar. That cannot be right and recent advice from the Director of Public Prosecutions has reaffirmed the right of the public to defend themselves and their property. We must though guard against any thoughts of vigilantism and recognise that the police are the guardians of the public and the enforcers of law and order. They in turn need the support and protection of both parliament and the justice system. With me as your Police Commissioner you and they can be certain of my support as well.

The Way Forward:

The Greater Manchester Police Force has a right to expect the unwavering support of the Police Commissioner but they also should have the support and trust of the general, law abiding public. I do understand though at times that support and trust can be strained. I will encourage greater use of Safer Community meetings that are already in place and currently attended by police, Borough Council representatives, a magistrate observer and the Probation Service. Whilst it is true the police need to understand the public’s fears and concerns they in turn need to understand the pressures the police are under, particularly in terms of targeting and budget cutting exercises. Greater dialogue at these forums will encourage that and forge stronger bonds between the police and their principle stakeholders. And that ladies and gentlemen can only lead to a stronger and safer Greater Manchester.
I urge you to cast your vote on November the 15th for the only candidate that is not politically affiliated, is passionately proud of Greater Manchester, want to give the police the support they deserve and with your backing make our city and region the envy of all others in the country. Vote for Roy Warren, Vote for A Safer Greater Manchester.

Greater Manchester Matt Gallagher Liberal Democrates
Dear Des,

Thank you for getting in touch. In response to your questions I would say that the present drugs policy isn’t working, and this is reinforced by the recent report by the UK Drug Policy Commission, an independent advisory body, who’s findings I broadly concur with.

The report recommends that drugs policy should be guided by the facts, and decisions made by an independent body, not politicians. The Runcimann report makes recommendations on the approach to cannabis use that I completely agree with.

Police actions are currently driven by the existing law, the demands of the Home Office and complaints from the public. By altering the legislation to reflect changing attitudes and approaches to the problem, the police response will change accordingly. To date, leadership on drugs issues has been driven by a political agenda and populist appeal which is not always in sinc with the evidence.

I have stated in my manifesto (see Matt4PCC.org) that I will appoint an Assistant Commissioner For Young People to establish links with this group (10% of the population are aged between 18 and 24, but they are increasingly alienated by an out-of-touch justice system that has a largely negative view of this demographic). The APCC for young people must be appointed by, and work with, young people in our various communities, to build trust and faith in the justice system, and represent their issues and concerns within that system. After all, they are the adults and leaders of tomorrow and they should have a voice in that future.

The large scale importation and distribution of drugs by organised crime and by certain business people who see it as a lucrative investment must remain a priority for the police. But I take the view that those who become addicted to their ‘wares’ are in many ways victims of this exploitation, and need support to tackle their addiction. Drug dealing is a business that relies on a customer base. Shrink the customer base and you damage the business.

The biggest challenges facing the police today are drugs and mental health, and the failure of the NHS to tackle these two problems effectively. Some drugs are more harmful than others, and cannabis is at the lower end of that scale. How society approaches their use must be evidence driven, and help and support should come first, not punishment and alienation.

I hope that this response gives you a better idea of my approach to this issue.

Wiltshire Colin Skelton Independent
Des

I’ll get my response in quick.

You mentioned a lot of people who state our current drugs policy is not working, you missed out the Presidents of Guatemala and Columbia. I know one thing for certain, after spending nearly £30 billion on this problem drugs are more freely available than ever. So the current system does not work. What will? Well I don’t have the answer but I would lobby for and support a Royal Commission on drugs policy to be set up and to report within 8 months on a way forward with regards to how we would Police drugs in the UK. This would have to be, as you say, evidence and science based, take the hysterics out of it.

My stance on drugs were I to be elected would be that we would apply the law fairly and consistently under the rule of law.

Kind regards

Mr. Colin Skelton
Independent Candidate for Wiltshire Police and Crime Commissioner

Nottinghamshire Dr Raj Chandran
Dear Des,

As a Gp I have dealt with cannabis users.
I am aware of the UKDPC survey
As a PCC I am unable to comment on the Judiciary Policies as I do not think PCCs can make a decision on this.
The duties remain with Parliament.
Can we have a dialogue after the election on this matter. I have dealt with drug users all my GP life and I sympathise
with their predicament.
Let us get a clearer picture of the duties and powers of the PCC on the question of drugs after the election.
Regards

Raj

Nottinghamshire Malcolm Spencer Independent

Dear Mr Des Humphrey

Thank you for contacting me

Tackling substance abuse, especially alcohol cannot be done by the Police alone. Invariably the Police deal with the outcome of substance abuse whether it is drugs or alcohol. The impact of this especially that of alcohol abuse can be seen on a regular basis in the News. Alcohol is the primary driver for violence and disorder (Recent Government figures show that nearly there was nearly 1 million alcohol related crimes of violence reported across in England and Wales).  The UK rates high in underage drinking within Europe.

Yet while some £10 million are allocated to drug abuse issues only a fraction of this is targeted towards alcohol abuse.

While it is absolutely necessary for the Police to detect and arrest offenders it is important yet again to recognise that this approach of itself will not resolve the problem. Indeed policing the users of illegal substances is merely dealing with the symptoms of the problem.

It is the manufacturers, importers and suppliers of these substances that have to be tackled as well as seeking ways to provide support and facilities to assist the abuser to be able to become free from reliance on drugs and alcohol. 

On a National Level I will ensure that Nottinghamshire Police continues to focus some of its attention and resources on restricting the supply of drugs by contributing intelligence and support to Border Control and, as will working together with the New National Crime Agency which will include the Serious and Organised Crime Agency. This is stipulated in the Shadow Strategic Policing Requirement produced by the Home Secretary.

On a local front I consider the abuse of alcohol as being the main disruptive element causing a wide range of concerns for the public. It is an accepted fact that the abuse of alcohol features in many aspect of crime and certainly disorder. It is a prevalent factor in a high number of Domestic Abuse cases, offences of violence and criminal damage as well as the more obvious disorder that is all too often prevalent in the Cities, towns and even smaller communities in Nottinghamshire.

Cheap alcohol encourages young people to leave for a night out having already raised their alcohol limits by pre drinking.

It is therefore common-sense that officers should be deployed prior to the clubs and pubs turning out so that they can meet and greet arrivals into the City and Towns of Nottinghamshire and recognise potential problem individuals before incidents of disorder occur. In this way they can seek to deter such activity before it takes place.

It is also a problem in that the age at which alcohol abuse is being identified is getting younger, some as young as 9 or 10. Much of this drinking occurs outside of the towns and the City. Neighbourhood Patrol Officers need to monitor such behaviour and identify where young people congregate.

There must be regular monitoring of off-licenses and other premises selling alcohol to ensure that they are complying with the law as regards selling to under age individuals

Merely applying the criminal law to this problem is not going to solve it.

We are going to need to work with a variety of partnerships and agencies to seek to tackle the root causes of substance abuse.

I will meet with all current Statutory partnerships and volunteer groups to seek opinions and advice as to what additional initiatives and resources can be identified to tackle substance abuse. these will include 

Crime and Drugs Partnerships

Drug and Alcohol Action Team

Domestic Abuse Support Team

Victim Support

The Safer Nottinghamshire Board

South Notts Community Safety Partnership

Youth Offending Service

Primary care Trusts

National Health Boards

Family Practitioners

The Crown Prosecution Service

Local Authorities

Local Education Authorities and Boards

Social Services

The Probation Service

The Prison Service

This is not necessarily an exhaustive list of interested parties who can provide a positive impact on reducing the effects of substance abuse and even more importantly determine effective means and programmes to prevent and educate people from such activity.

Although, unfortunately, Nottinghamshire has not been included in the grant provided for under the Government’s national ‘Alcohol Strategy and Drug Strategy’

These include

Funding to tackle binge drinking and underage drinking

Maintaining the focus on restricting the supply of drugs

Support to treatment centres so as to provide help for abusers to be helped to stop.

Better enforcement of the drug driving law.

Local Agencies to be given powers so as to reduce the harm alcohol causes by changes to public health and Licensing Acts.

A late night levy on licensed premises, to ensure, that those selling alcohol into the night, contribute towards the cost of policing disturbances. With this I would rather it be more evidenced based, targeting irresponsible businesses so that it acts more as a deterrent and encouragement to reducing the impact of alcohol abuse. Otherwise a blanket levy will merely be absorbed by higher prices and not act to prevent the anti-social impact. Ultimately the sanction should be loss of license to trade.

Work with the NHS for substance abuse treatment to reduce incidents

I will see that the Chief Constable is provided with appropriate funding to implement and promote the good practice this strategy identifies.

With regard to your question as to the medicinal use of cannabis if proven medical evidence testifies to the benefits of using this are correct (I am certainly not qualified to answer that) then I see no reason why it is not put on the register of prescribed drugs. You will be aware that there are a whole host of drugs on this register that without proper medical prescription would otherwise be illegal to be possessed and taken. Why should cannabis be treated in any other way.

It is substance abuse that needs to be tackled not properly managed substance use.

Kind Regards

 

Malcolm Spencer LLB

Northamptonshire Paul Varnsverry Liberal Democrat

Dear Mr Humphrey,

 

Thank you for your email and for taking the time to write to me. I note my counterpart in the Greater Manchester Police area, Matt Gallagher, has already responded to you and I largely concur with what he has said; however, I wanted to personally acknowledge your email.

 

I would add further to what Matt has stated that I am not convinced those who call for legalisation of drugs have thought their proposals through. The suggestion is that this would remove the manufacture, distribution and marketing of drugs from the hands of organised crime. The comparison I draw here is in respect of the number of seizures of tobacco and alcohol which occur when those items are imported illegally, without the requisite duties and taxes being paid. I fail to see how legalising other drugs could be any different and there would still be those who would wish to continue supplying drugs illegally at less than the price set through any proposed legal framework.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Paul Varnsverry

Liberal Democrat candidate for

Northamptonshire Police & Crime Commissioner

Sussex David Roger Liberal Democrates

Dear Mr Humphrey,

In short, I fully support evidence-based policy, as you describe. That extends to medicinal use, again as you set out.

However, you will be aware that it is Parliament that decides upon the legal position, not whoever is elected as PCC for Sussex. It will be incumbent upon the successful candidate to discuss these issues fully with the Chief Constable and other local partners such as the CPS.

Regards,
David Rogers.

Sussex Ian Chisnall Independent

I regret that our legislators are so positively convinced that their laws are inadequate, yet so incabable of changing them.
I support a approach that seeks to remove drugs from circulation; prosecutes dealers; encourage users to enter into treatment for their addictions. I don’t have a position on medicinal use of cannabis.

Sussex Godfrey Daniel Labour

Dear Des
No disrespect but you seem to be writing to many many people. Happy to respond if you live in Sussex – those are the people I wish to represent.
Regards
Godfrey Daniel
Hello Godfrey,I am writing on behalf of NORML UK (National Organisation for the Reform of Marijuana Laws), an organisation that represents the whole of the UK, so I have emailed every single Police and Crime Commissioner candidate.Many of our members and supporters are unwilling to email the candidates personally due to the nature of the questions and the possibility that they might bring suspicion upon themselves, even if they have committed no crime. I am sure that you will be aware that asking questions to PCC candidates regarding illegal drugs might make some wary of passing over personal details such as their name or address, especially if they have had negative experiences of interactions with the police in the past.This is especially the case for disabled medical cannabis users, who have a medically supported need to possess and use cannabis on a regular basis. In some cases, people with doctor’s letters testifying that they have no other means to treat their conditions have had their doors knocked down regardless.I would therefore ask you to answer the questions we have posed, for both the benefit of Sussex residents as well as the general public. I am sure that if I were to commit a crime in Sussex than the Sussex police would arrest me regardless of my residency, and as a police commissioner you would be a national figure as well as a regional one.Regards,Des HumphreyMedical Director (Veterans)
NORML UK
https://www.norml-uk.org

Dear Des
My views on this issue are encapsulated in my word to another correspondent:
“As I am involved in mental health work, I often witness the long-term effects of  drugs on a person’s mental state – including cannabis psychosis. I also know well the motivation for many to regularly resort to acquisitive crime to feed addictions.I tend to favour the conclusions of the recent report by the UK Drug Policy Commission (UKDPC) to replace criminal sanctions on simple posession of drugs (for personal use) with a civil penalty such as a fine or attendance at a drug awareness session. This would stop criminalising this level of behaviour. I also agree with the UKDPC when they say thart allowing the legal sale of drugs such as heroin or cocaine would cause more damage than the existing drugs trade.That said, legislation in this area is a matter for Parliament and sentencing is a matter for the courts – the police have to enforce the law. In my view the focus of police activity in this area should be on those responsible for major production and/or supply of drugs ie on drug dealers that profit from the misery of others.With the 20%+ government cuts in policing we need to establish very clear priorities, and I am not going to pretend that there are any simple answers. I support partnership working to help address addictions and would hope to further support this area of work by use of some community safety grant money which will be under the future control of the Police & Crime Commissioner.”I hope this is helpful.
regards
Godfrey Daniel
Labour Candidate – Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner

Surrey Kevin Hurley Independent

I have no issues with the medicinal use of cannabis, we already use heroin and cocaine medically.
Whatever is decided at EU Government or UK Govt level in terms of strategy is not relevant to this role.
I will do what I can influence. Ie make life difficult for dealers and traffickers of white powder Class A drugs in Surrey
I will also fund drug treatment for dependants
Kevin
Surrey Julie Iles Conservative 
Dear Mr Humphrey

Thank you for contacting me. I have referenced drug related crime in my manifesto available on this link:http://www.julieiles.org.uk/news/manifesto

You will see from there that I believe the key to breaking drug related crime is to reduce the cycle of dependency. My own view is that prescription addiction is still addiction and abstinence is what should be aimed for. Personally I believe cannabis is a dangerous gateway drug and exacerbates any pre-disposition to mental health issues. That said if I am elected as Police & Crime Commissioner my focus will be on preventing crime. I will not have influence over arrest or charging decisions and neither will I have input to sentencing in the criminal justice system so the use of discretionary clemency remains elsewhere for others to judge the position on medicinal use.

I’m sorry my answer is brief but election day is upon us and time is short.

Regards
Julie Iles
Surrey Police & Crime Commissioner Candidate


2 Royal Parade, Tilford Road, Hindhead, GU26 6TD

Telephone: 07591 005993

www.julieiles.org.uk

facebook.com/julieiles4surreypcc
@JIles4PCC

Surrey Nick O’Shea Liberal Democrat
You’ve just had a reply from my colleague Matt Gallagher which reflects my own views.

Cambridgeshire Rupert Moss-Eccardt Liberal Democrates
Des,

Thank you for the email. Unsurprisingly you will find my views to be broadly similar to those expressed by Matt in his reply to you.
I have made no commitment to assistants or deputies in Cambridgeshire, though.

We do need an evidence-based, health-led approach with a structured transition.

Regards

Rupert

Devon and Cornwall Brian Blake Liberal Democrates
Hi My view on the current position on illegal drugs is this. As an ex copper I have seen those who deal misery and addiction to young people for their own profit are parasites feeding off the vunerable. I agree that based on medical evidence there is an argument for cannabis as a treatment for some conditions. Legalise drugs per se and Boots for example will be undercut on price by those who still wish to make a profit thus making it a revenue offence. What we must bear in mind that the same people who smuggle cannabis and the like also smuggle weapons and people. Make no mistake drug dealing is a nasty business I have in the past dealt with dealers who only interest is profit for themselves.

Regards Brian Blake

Devon and Cornwall Graham Calderwood Independent

Dear Mr Humphreys
I will not have power to change the law if elected of course. But I hope that lots of genuine independents like myself will be elected ; I can see no reason for politics in the candidature or policies after the election
But  a large  independent representation on the Association of Commissioners  should I think have a much better influence on the Government than opposition Commissioners who will as “opposition” be ignored
I am  a solicitor and duty solicitor and I know how much addiction to and craving for hard drugs fuels so much crime and I want to focus on treatment  and help for that so that for not too serious first and  even some repeat offences by people with drug problems , they go to a drug agency and IF they engage there , may get a non-court disposal. That is for harder drugs however. I mention it on my web site and attached election statement
I was much  inclined to cannabis being legalised or de criminalised  as provided people are educated in the possible dangers they ought to make their own decisions in a free democratic society.
The latest reports  seem to conlusively indicate that real harm is done to under 18 year olds by   usage so I have turned away from my view a little as I worry about legislation only applying to people under 18 – though of course we have it for nicotine and alcohol. I worry about the situation that buying cannabis gets people in contact with drug dealers who want to get their customers onto something stronger and I do think that should remain illegal; it is that which holds me back form saying cannabis should be legal  unless its purchase is controlled I suppose by the state
If cannabis were legalised  parliament may be unwilling to provide for sales of cannabis officially ?
Certainly if the law is not changed-and I think we are losing the “war”  in enforcing the law anyway- enforcement of personal use cannabis will not be a priority at all and as far as I am concerned would not be sought out . But the dilema is how do you obtain it unless everybody grows their own legally;  or you have dealers which somehow you want to get rid of anyway!?
Basically I dislike the idea of guidelines by the DPP trying really to change the law; if there is to be effectively a changing of the law by the back door  as it is just not enforced ,I think our legislators should change the law. That is what they are for
But while that does not seem to happen, I would not enforce or waste precious police resources enforcing something we can’t win and should not win’ However the post of Commissioner is so good as it will really enable the public to have  their views condidered I feel for the first time. The Police Authorities that will go were I feel hopeless at meetingt the public and I really want to know what the public feel. I will hold regular meetings throughout the 2 counties if elected and again if public opinion seems to follow my view  we would have some ammunition  to approach the government as a body of Commissioners. It may be that the majority view supports a change of law
Medicinal use effectively is catered for in the guidelines for courts when sentencing  but it should not get that far in genuine cases. I have not studied the evidence in depth but think there is proof that it can benefit people . Certainly I have met clients who impress me as to its effects in certain conditions. The difficulty is that everybody could say they need it for that reason ; some doctors are more sympathetic to views that it helps and is to be approved or they will or will not write reports saying it benefits a certain client. It becomes a lottery  and whilst we keep  it illegal we have these problems
Thus I would so far as it is in my power argue for the law to be changed especially if consultation seems that is a general view . I  would not want the police force to seek out those who just possess . I would consult and see what the public feel about this issue and if that reinforces my feelings press for a change
Graham Calderwood
Devon and Cornwall Tony Hogg Conservative
Dear Mr, Ms. Mrs
As the election for Police and Crime Commissioner approaches I am receiving a very high level of emails.
I have placed a number of Frequently Asked Questions on my web site and would ask you to look there for answers on my skills for the role of PCC, privatisation of the police, animal crime and many others.
I will be reading my emails but if the answer to your question is on my web site I would ask you to understand if I do not respond to each one.
Should I be elected, as soon as possible I will be setting up a system to give a personal response to your questions and suggestions.
Best wishes
Tony Hogg


Tony Hogg
Conservative Candidate for
Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon and CornwallM: 07799661795www.tonyhogg.com
Tweet: @tonyhogg2012
Devon and Cornwall William Morris Independent
Dear Des,

I would be happy to support some controlled and medicinal use of 
cannabis - however I am absolutely against the use of skunk or similar 
drugs which so much trouble many of our young and also older 
populations.

There is an argument for the decriminalisation of drugs. Note the 
distinction. Not legalisation. Pushers would still be arrested but users 
would not be pursued and drugs abuse would be treated more as an illness 
than a crime. The new Police and Crime Commissioner has the power to set 
police targets and could de-facto decriminalise drugs use whilst still 
pursuing drug dealers. This would not be my way even though it has much 
to commend it. All the same, the drugs issue is one I intend to examine 
most carefully if elected.I will set up a working group on the drugs 
issue and will take advice on the subject.

You can see my approach on my blog which links below:

_http://www.southwestjustice.blogspot.co.uk/2012/10/children-and-drugs-and-alcohol.html_
(http://www.southwestjustice.blogspot.co.uk/2012/10/children-and-drugs-and-alcohol.html)

See:
_http://www.southwestjustice.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/drugs-top-priority.html_
(http://www.southwestjustice.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/drugs-top-priority.html)

Best wishes

William

---
William Morris,
Independent Candidate
Police and Crime Commissioner, Devon Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly

South Wales Michael Baker Independent
Hello Des

Thank you for the message, I broadly concur with what Matt Gallagher has said, drug use is at various levels amongst different people and dependent on the drug of preference. I agree that the drug importers are the main target for the drug enforcement arm of the approach as they are the causes of the problem. as to users they are as Matt has indicated to a large extent victims and they need a softer approach. addiction is a major problem and the current drug strategy does not appear to be working. I do not consider that cannabis is a drug that should be de-criminalised as I believe it is dangerous and can drive some users towards more serious drugs. I do though understand the medicinal benefits for certain people and would support its prescription in those cases. We none of us know the full answer to the problem and more research into the effects may well assist. As to my priorities I would be looking to target the dealers at whatever level and look towards more education for youngsters at schools etc in an effort to steer them away from the experiment with drugs or from peer pressure.
I hope this helps

Kindest Regards

Michael A Baker
Independent Candidate for Police & Crime Commissioner for South Wales

Durham Kingsley Smith Independent
Dear Des

My main concern about drugs is trafficking and I believe the Police need to work hard and get high success rates in this area

With regard to drug users I believe in many cases they are the victims and I fully support the drug action activities designed to help users get off drugs. I also support the police working with the community and other agencies to maximise the success of this

Obviously some drug users can be very violent and commit burglary and other serious crimes and the police need to act appropriately to protect the public

With regard to the legal issues about drugs there are others much more qualified than me to give a view but I do believe that from time to time current policies should be reviewed

Hope this helps

Kingsley

Derbyshire Alan Charles Labour
Dear Des – This is an exceptionally complex area and you have alluded to that in your email, and it does not deserve a ‘knee jerk’ response. Additionally the role of PCC is not one of law making, although I accept it will be a position of influence, particularly if there is significant support from PCCs for a given issue.

There are arguments for and against reforming drug legislation. The two main positives are taking drugs out of the hands of criminals and organised crime groups and assurances on product quality in relation to users’ health and safety. Contrary to this are the personal health risks of using drugs obtained from licensed supply outlets, in the same way that alcohol and tobacco is causing massive health problems for hundreds of thousands of drinkers and smokers. To be absolutely honest I sit somewhere in the middle of this debate and would personally need far more research evidence based on science, health, and human rights to quote from your email.

Having said that, if the medical evidence is there, I do not think cannabis users with prescribed medical conditions should face prosecution.

Regarding law enforcement; my position is where criminals and organised crime groups are selling drugs on our streets they should face the full force of the law. This is on the basis that these activities cause significant problems and anxieties for local communities and fund other illegal activities.

Whilst this may not be totally in accord with your views I do assure that I have an open mind on this issue.

Please do not publish any of this email out of context.

Alan Charles

 

North Yorkshire Ruth Potter Labour

Thank you for your email. I would agree that the present drugs policy isn’t working, and this is reinforced by the recent report by the UK Drug Policy Commission. The report recommends that drugs policy should be guided by the facts, and decisions made by an independent body, not politicians. Police have to enforce the existing law.
The organised distribution of drugs by crime gangs  must remain a priority for the police. But I take the view that those who become addicted are victims of exploitation, and need help to tackle their addiction. Drug dealing is a business that relies on addicts, reduce their number and take the business away.
One of the biggest challenges facing the police today are drugs and mental health. The NHS has not got to grips with this problem. Some drugs are more harmful than others, and cannabis is at the lower end of that scale. How society approaches drug  use must be evidence driven, and help and support should come first, not punishment and alienation.
I hope that this gives you an idea of where I come from on this matter.

best wishes,
Ruth

Northumbria Vera Baird QC

thanks for this note. could I ask who is requesting this? are you an
elector in Northumbria?

Hello Vera,
I am writing on behalf of NORML UK (National Organisation for the Reform of Marijuana Laws), an organisation that represents the whole of the UK, so I have emailed every single Police and Crime Commissioner candidate. Many of our members and supporters are unwilling to email the candidates personally due to the nature of the questions and the possibility that they might bring suspicion upon themselves, even if they have committed no crime. I am sure that you will be aware that asking questions to PCC candidates regarding illegal drugs might make some wary of passing over personal details such as their name or address, especially if they have had negative experiences of interactions with the police in the past. This is especially the case for disabled medical cannabis users, who have a medically supported need to possess and use cannabis on a regular basis. In some cases, people with doctor’s letters testifying that they have no other means to treat their conditions have had their doors knocked down regardless. I would therefore ask you to answer the questions we have posed, for both the benefit of Northumbria residents as wellas the general public. I am sure that if I were to commit a crime in Sussex than the Sussex police would arrest me regardless of my residency, and as a police commissioner you would be a national figure as well as a regional one.

Regards,

Des Humphrey
Medical Director (Veterans) NORML UK https://www.norml-uk.org

Hi thanks, I am very happy to help but can't give it priority since I
have a lot of direct requests and queries from my electors in these
last two weeks of the campaign so all I can say is that I will do my
best
good wishes
Vera.
Dorset Martyn Underhill Independent
 Dear Sir,
Thank you for your email which raises numerous issues.
Drug Policy
I share your concern that the current drug strategy is in many ways ineffective. However, it is not in my power as Doprset PCC to change that policy. I am however receptive to exploring other options through the association of the Police & Crime commissioners (APCC) with the Government.
Cannabinoids
Again, it would not be in my remit as Dorset PCC to change drug sentencing or drug guidelines in relation to the above. I am however receptive to the use of cannabinoids for people with long-term debilitating illnesses and, again, if elected, I would attempt to change government policy through the APCC.
Many thanks for your interest in the election.
Martyn Underhill
Dorset Andy Canning Liberal Democrat
Dear Des Humphrey,
Clearly the PCC is not in a position to change the existing laws but, if elected I will set the following priorities:
– major priority to clamp down on dealers, especially of the more dangerous drugs;
– provide medical and other support to addicts of hard drugs;
– very low priority for prosecuting use or possession of reasonable quanities or growing for own use (whether medical or otherwise). The test in each case should be the quantities involved.
Yours
Andy
Liverpool Kiron Read Independent
Dear Des,
> 
> Please see thread at the end of this link:
> http://kiron4commissioner.com/key-principles-and-key-policies/
> 
> Unfortunately the search engine on the website / blog is not very good so the two links to discussion drugs policy I realise don't come up on a search.
> 
> I note that you do not say what norml-UK is. If you have supporters / friends / contacts on Merseyside please do forward the link to them.
> 
> Best wishes,
> 
> Kiron Reid.
> 
> Independent candidate for Merseyside PCC.
> 
> 48 Abbeygate Apartments, 
> High Street, 
> Liverpool 
> L15 8HB 
> 
> 00 44 (0)151 7340707 
> www.Kiron4Commissioner.com 
> 
> www.kironreid.co.uk
Thank you Kiron,
NORML UK “National Organisation for the Reform of Marijuana Laws”
The cannabis consumer is getting younger and younger and so are the dealers Ive seen dealers as young as 13 and consumers as 
young as 11 this has to stop because the cannabis these young kids are getting is usually the damp early harvested and it usually 
comes with added ingredients such as pests, feed, bud mold or even worse ground up glass, sand, or sprayed with silicone all of 
which can be very damaging to the consumer more so the teenage consumer whose brain has not yet fully developed. 
When the crop is harvested early the chemical called CBD does not have time to fully develop thus meaning the early harvested crop
is high in THC and very low in CBD, one of the jobs of CBD is to counter act the effects of THC, but to a medical consumer of
cannabis fully developed CBD is vital for medical reasons as is THC.
The other issue with regards to criminal gangs that grow the commercial crops by the tonnes is the strain they use in the UK, its a 
strain called Indica this strain only needs 8 weeks to flower but the gangs do it in 6 weeks, this type of strain has a very couch lock 
effect, ideal for someone in chronic pain or some one who suffers MS or spinal problems CANCER etc but this is the strains that the teenagers
are consuming, the other strains that can be grown are the Sativa strain that can take up to 16 weeks to flower, no wonder the 
criminal gangs don’t want to grow this strain, they will lose to much money, but this strain has a totally different effect on the consumer 
compared to the Indica, Sativa will make you motivated, creative, energized, clear headed, this strain also has excellent medical 
properties for the medical consumer such as ADHD, ADD, Bi-Polar, CANCER, chronic pain MS etc.
When both strains are grown to the best of their abilities they can do wonder for all types of reasons not only medical, but for recreational
reasons as well, what is so wrong if an adult wants to have a joint in his/her own home if they are not hurting or harming anyone else.
Evidence in Holland says that they have one of the lowest teenage use in the whole of Europe and the UK has one of the highest.
A regulated system where the product is inspected before it is put on sale to only adults would not only reduce teenage use but also free
a lot of money and time for the police to concentrate on crimes that really do a lot of harm.
Doctors could even be given their freedom back in being able to prescribe cannabis to those that have tried all other routes. 
From a personal point of view I was on 23 tablets per day for my disability, it turned me into a vegetable, then I discovered cannabis not street cannabis
medically grown cannabis, I don’t take tablets any more not one I only consume cannabis that works for my condition, because of the state the
prescribed medication made me feel and look I will never take a tablet again, I am ex military and now a war vet without cannabis the pain is so
intense I have talked to my doctor about leg amputation, with cannabis I keep my leg, wonder how many people would do the same as
me if they were in that situation.
There are also much safer ways of consuming cannabis so you don’t always have to smoke it.
Kind regards
Des
Dear Des,
Many thanks for this. This is a brief reply as you will appreciate the volume of email that I am getting. If I get elected we can carry on this dialogue. Obviously there 
are lots of points we won't agree on, and I can't change the law, but it is a useful discussion to be having.

Good luck yourself,

Kiron Reid.

www.Kiron4Commissioner.com 

www.kironreid.co.uk

Humberside Godfrey Boom UKIP

Greetings and thank you for your enquiry.

Where to start, excuse my brevity but time is short. It is my personal belief we need a bottom up reassessment of our drugs policy nationally. We as politicians must understand current policy has failed. As indeed did prohibition of alcohol fail in the US in the 1920’s.

Criminalizing addicts is clearly ludicrous. Drug related crime is significant, so it has turned into big business, a multibillion dollar international business so a radical solution is resisted the drugs abused are worth only pennies, yet your grandmother can be beaten up by an addict for £20 to feed his habit.

The resources sucked in are out of all proportion. We have to start again, I would suggest a Royal Commission with a blank sheet of paper. Prison is for bad and violent criminals not social misfits. As to my modest role as a PCC, with a limited remit I would put many things at the bottom of the priority list. You may make your own assessment of what they may be, but I am sure you get my drift.

Best wishes

 

Godfrey Bloom

Leistershire Salemun Nagdu Independent

Dear Mr Humphrey,

Thank you very much for your email. The use and sale of marijuana is clearly an issue which many people feel strongly about and is one that needs to be debated.
Regards,
Suleman Nagdi MBE DL.
Hertfordshire Marion Mason UKIP
i would not expect to see any changes in the current drug laws.
The police and crime commissioner is not able to change the law!
They do have a range of powers and can make reports and recommendations but for their area. This is
part of their role which includes setting out a strategic police and crime plan.Regards
Marion Mason
Hertfordshire David Lloyd Conservative
I won't be able to change the law - to do that we need our MPs to support a change, and I believe that our laws should be enforced. Laws reflect the type of society in which we wish to live, and if you believe in a pariamentary democracy (as I do) we cannot have a pick and mix approach to enforcement.

However, you might be surprised to learn that I agree we should have a proper review of how drugs are policed in this country, and what the laws are. This should focus on the health costs of legalisation as well as the cost of enforcement (and of course the associated crime). There is also abig difference between the legalisation of a drug such as cannabis for medicinal purposes - which I suspect that most would accept - and the legalisation of highly dangerous class A drugs for recreational purposes. Unfortunately as your e:mail implies it is a subject around which few people are willing to engage in mature debate.

If elected I would be interested in meeting up with you - let's see how we can get the debate going,

Kind regards,

David
Essex Andrew Smith UKIP
I am generally in favour of a libertarian approach to most matters but when personal choices start to affect others the rights of many people start to come into play.In the case of drugs (by which I assume we mean currently restricted compounds), I am certainly not convinced that usage should be entirely a matter of personal choice. The use of drugs can affect people in ways that cause damage to others and also lead to illnesses which can make users dangerous. I do not believe the current strategies are working. I do not believe in the legalisation of banned drugs; if we cannot restrict their use now (which clearly we have not been able to do) how could we expect to restrict their use to people of sufficient age and common sense if they were more freely available. Thank you for writing to me Andrew Smith Candidate PCC Essex UK Independence Party www.smith4essex.org

Hampshire David Goodall Liberal Democrat

Hi Des,

Thanks for your email.

 For my views on drugs see:-

 http://davidgoodall.org.uk/en/page/drugs

On the medical use I think research needs to be done on how best to produce a medical product that could be prescribed the normal manner.

Hope the helps. For more information see my manifesto which is attached. 

Best regards

David

Bedfordshire Linda Jack Liberal Democrat

Dear Des
My personal view is that the war on drugs isn’t working. As PCC I would be pushing for no prosecution for possession for own use and I support my party’s policy which you can see on page 24 here. I am very interested in the Portuguese model and as PCC would want to explore how aspects of their policy could be introduced in Bedfordshire (within existing legal constraints), in particular speeding up support for addicts. I believe it is a nonsense that cannabinoids cannot be used for medical use and to be honest agree wholeheartedly with my party policy that there should be an exploration of how cannabis could be properly regulated.If you have any further questions please do contact me.Very best wishesLinda JackThames ValleyDear Des,First of all, thank you for taking the time to write to me, and my apologies for taking so long to reply.  I have had something of a deluge of emails!In terms of the law and drugs policy. It would be wrong for the Police and Crime Commissioner to take a stand on this debate.  It is important for our democracy that making the law and enforcing it are kept as two different responsibilities. For a Police and Crime Commissioner to publicly disagree with laws, or suggest that the police do not enforce some of them, which it is his job to uphold would be a dangerous precedent. This is not to say that I think the current law is right or wrong, just that it would be wrong for me to get involved in this debate.  What I can say is that I very much agree that any review of the law should be based on empirical scientific evidence not prejudice, and I welcome common-sense based approaches to sentencing guidelines.In terms of where I would have the authority over police priorities in Thames Valley.  It will be a duty on all Police and Crime Commissioners to work to put the public’s priorities in their region into action, and that is exactly what I intend to do. I also recognise that in many cases prosecution will not be the most appropriate response to drug possession. However, I should also make it clear that, by law, no Commissioner will have the power to interfere with who the police investigate or who they arrest. So I’m not going to make a promise I can’t keep.Kind Regards
Tim Starkey
Thames Valley Barry Cooper UKIP
Dear Mr Humphrey,

While drugs remain illegal, I am duty-bound to enforce the law 
surrounding them. The PCC role is non-legislative and I will be bound by 
the law.

That being said, the role of PCC is to establish strategic priorities 
for how the region is policed, and if a desire to not vigorously police 
possession and personal use of "soft" drugs such as cannabis is 
communicated I will of course respond to that accordingly. Likewise, if 
the majority of people in the Thames Valley want a very robust 
anti-drugs policing policy, it will be my job to deliver that regardless 
of my personal feelings on the matter.

On a personal basis, I do not see cannabis use as any more damaging 
than excessive alcohol use (especially taking related criminal activity 
into account), with the exception of the difficulty that exists in 
establishing if a person is driving while under the influence of 
cannabis. When it comes to the medicinal attributes of cannabis, I think 
that this really needs to be looked at as a separate discussion aside 
from general decriminalisation, and again from a personal perspective I 
am sympathetic to it becoming more accessible. I have far stronger 
"anti" views when it comes to most other drugs however, and fully 
acknowledge concerns over cannabis use as a "gateway" to other drugs, 
which of course has to be addressed and taken into account.

Beyond that, I think it is way past time for a grown-up, objective and 
un-emotive debate to be undertaken regarding national drug policy 
followed by a national referendum regarding the criminal status of 
certain drugs. Until such a debate takes place, I can honestly say that 
I do not know how I would cast my vote in such a referendum, but as 
stated, I am not adverse to the medicinal use of cannabis if properly 
monitored and regulated.

I hope that answers your questions, but if you need further 
clarification or elaboration, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Regards,

Barry Cooper
Dyfed-Powys Christopher Salmon Welsh Conservative
Dear Des,

Thank you for your email and apologies for the delay. As this is not a constituency request I cannot give it the attention I think it deserves. I’m happy to discuss in due course, but for now can only offer a short comment.
I think the exciting part of PCC reforms is that we can approach policing of drug-related crime differently. The ability to commission other, non-policing, services to tackle and prevent crime is a real opportunity, particularly in relation to drugs. I am not supporting decriminalising drugs here (which is in any case a matter for Parliament) but I think there are opportunities for a more subtle and tailored approach to different drug problems in different areas in the role of PCC.
Many thanks,
Chris
Christopher Salmon
Police and Crime Commissioner Candidate for Dyfed-Powys
Cheshire John Stockton Labour
Dear Mr Des Humphrey,

The “law”, and changing the law will not be within the remit of the PCC. If elected, I will ensure that the Police continue to apply the law, including the laws relating to drugs as the law stands.
At a personal level, I do not believe that the “war against drugs” has worked, and have some sympathy with the findings of the recent UK Drug Policy Commission, as I believe that some radical thinking has to be applied so that we can reduce the blight that drugs have on individuals and their families. Government, who are the law makers, must begin to have an evidence based approach towards tackling drugs.
At a personal level, having reviewed the Sentencing Guidelines for Drugs, as the law stands at present, I am broadly in favour of a tiered approach towards sentencing for drug offences. I welcome the consideration given to culpability ( including whether the person’s role is leading, significant or lesser) and the harm caused by the drug.
I do believe that “harm caused”, utilising the classification system of drugs being Class A, B or C, needs to be rethought in the light of evidence, both with regard to the medical harm caused and the societal harm caused. If all factors are taken into account, then tobacco causes much greater medical harm and alcohol causes significant societal harm, yet are both legal drugs.
The approach towards sentencing reflects that importation/exportation of drug and the supply of drugs is of greater danger to society than that of simple possession, an approach which I fully endorse. The guidelines also recognise the mitigation of supply when the supplier is addicted to the supplied drug, this I believe is the common sense approach.
With regard to possession, I strongly believe that addiction is a medical issue and so should be dealth with through a rehabilitative rather than a punitive approach. The fact that sentencing for possession of cannabis recognises the mitigation with regard to use in people with a diagnosed medical condition is welcomed
My approach towards the enforcement of drug laws relate to the actions that the Police will take on the ground, the sentencing is the remit of the Courts and as such this is where the decisions should be made based on the guidelines produced by the Sentencing Council. I will continue to support the use of appropriate out of court disposals for low level street possession, with more serious issues being dealt with in the Courts.
As PCC, I will seek to listen to what the electorate feels around drug enforcement, but will balance my approach through consideration of the evidence as to what has the greatest impact on reducing the impact of drug use on individuals, families and communities. Drug use has a corrosive influence on individuals and communities, and as such I will ensure that the law as it currently stands is enforced.I hope that gives some clarity as to my views and approach.I hope all is well!Best wishes,John
Gwent Nick Webb Welsh Conservative
Dear Des,
Thank you for your message. I have some considerable concern about the variation between the statistical evidence of drug abuse in Gwent and the comments I’m hearing from residents in the area, including professionals. It certainly appears that we have a significant problem, particularly with mephedrone (or “meow meow”) particularly in some of the heads of the valleys towns. It is important to help those affected move away from drugs whilst at the same time taking a very firm line against those who are providing the drugs.
I have to say I am also of the view that whilst the message from Government must be evidence based I do also believe it should act as a strong and consistent deterrent to drug use.

I have no problem with the use of cannabis as prescribed for medical conditions and while it is fair that officers should question the use where appropriate I would not want a situation to occur in which officers were harassing those with a genuine medical need.

Best wishes
Nick
Nick Webb
Cleveland Sultan Alam Independent

Thank you for your message.

 

The police service exists to enforce the laws as enacted by Parliament according to the guidelines issued from time to time and cannot and, indeed, should not act beyond that guidance.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Sultan Alam

Independent PCC Candidate – Cleveland

Hampshire Don Jerrard Independent

Thank you for this. Drugs are a major concern to me, and as you will see from my manifesto and flyer (attached) I am determined to prioritise the question of drug-dealers while helping drug users.

 

The question of classification of drugs and legal medicinal use of them is frankly not something on which I have an opinion – that is a matter for the legislature, not the enforcement arm (the Police).  However the PCC can set priorities, and I have made it quite clear that I do not consider the use of drugs should be a priority for the police.  I have seen too many cases of the police getting convictions of drug-users to get the numbers up, while too often the dealers seem to go free.

 

I hope this helps and do not hesitate to get in touch if you have any further queries.

 

Regards,

 

Don Jerrard

 

PS I am very impressed by the approach Simon Hayes takes to drugs, a subject he knows much more about than me.  If I do get elected I intend to invite Simon to take the position of Deputy PCC, so, if he accepted you would get two independents for the price of one!  The important thing is to stop the politicians getting control of the police, which really must be avoided at all costs.

West Yorkshire Andrew Marchington Liberal Democrat

Thank you for getting in touch. In response to your questions I would say that the present drugs policy isn’t working, and this is reinforced by the recent report by the UK Drug Policy Commission, an independent advisory body, who’s findings I broadly concur with. 

 

The report recommends that drugs policy should be guided by the facts, and decisions made by an independent body, not politicians. The Runcimann report makes recommendations on the approach to cannabis use that I completely agree with.

 

Police actions are currently driven by the existing law, the demands of the Home Office and complaints from the public. By altering the legislation to reflect changing attitudes and approaches to the problem, the police response will change accordingly. To date, leadership on drugs issues has been driven by a political agenda and populist appeal which is not always in sinc with the evidence.

 

The large scale importation and distribution of drugs by organised crime and by certain business people who see it as a lucrative investment must remain a priority for the police. But I take the view that those who become addicted to their ‘wares’ are in many ways victims of this exploitation, and need support to tackle their addiction. Drug dealing is a business that relies on a customer base.  Shrink the customer base and you damage the business.

 

The biggest challenges facing the police today are drugs and mental health, and the failure of the NHS to tackle these two problems effectively. Some drugs are more harmful than others, and cannabis is at the lower end of that scale. How society approaches their use must be evidence driven, and help and support should come first, not punishment and alienation.

 

I hope that this response gives you a better idea of my approach to this issue.
Andrew Marchington

Liberal Democrat Candidate for
West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner 

 

 




 



 

Posted in News.

0 Comments

  1. Hi Des,

    Great work, I also contacted all of the local PCC candidates in Sussex, here is are the responses I received.

    Sussex, Ian Chisnall – Independent

    Hi Jasper

    Thanks for the email. My position is of course based on the fact that I am not a legislator and have no role in setting rules on drugs. I am supportive of the approach taken by Sussex Police which is to tackle drug supply and dealing and encourage users to consider treatment rather than go through a criminal justice system that will not benefit them or socie
    ty. For the record I am not personally supportive of relaxing the law on drugs, even though I recognise that if we started with a blank sheet of paper, alcohol would not be made freely available due to its impact on the lives of people in our society.

    Best wishes
    Ian Chisnall

    Sussex Godfrey Daniel Labour

    Dear Jasper

    As I am involved in mental health work, I often witness the long-term effects of drugs on a person’s mental state – including cannabis psychosis. I also know well the motivation for many to regularly resort to acquisitive crime to fee
    d addictions.

    I tend to favour the conclusions of the recent report by the UK Drug Policy Commission (UKDPC) to replace criminal sanctions on simple posession of drugs (for personal use) with a civil penalty such as a fine or attendance at a drug awareness session. This would stop criminalising this level of behaviour. I also agree with the UKDPC when they say thart allowing the legal sale of drugs such as heroin or cocaine would cause more damage than the existing drugs trade.

    That said, legislation in this area is a matter for Parliament and sentencing (such as for the case you quote) is a matter for the courts – the police have to enforce the law. In my view the focus of police activity in this area should be on those responsible for major production and/or supply of drugs ie on drug dealers that profit from the misery of others.

    With the 20%+ government cuts in policing we need to establish very clear priorities, and I am not going to pretend that there are any simple answers. I support partnership working to help address addictions and would hope to further support this area of work by use of some community safety grant money which will be under the future control of the Police & Crime Commissioner.

    I hope this is helpful.

    Kindest regards

    Godfrey Daniel
    Labour Candidate – Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner

    Sussex -David Rogers, Liberal Democrat

    Dear Jasper Knight,

    This issue is an operational one for the Chief Constable and his team. However, if elected, I would intend to discuss many issues with him as regard to priorities, in the light of research and the views of leading experts in the field. These include senior police officers in forces around the country, as well as scientists such as Professor David Nutt.

    Regards,
    David Rogers.

    • Excellent work Jasper, the more people who actually do things like this just might add more pressure to the PCC to actually listen to the evidence that is there for them in black and white.

  2. I certainly will not be voting for this guy.

    Devon and Cornwall Brian Blake Liberal Democrates
    Hi My view on the current position on illegal drugs is this. As an ex copper I have seen those who deal misery and addiction to young people for their own profit are parasites feeding off the vunerable. I agree that based on medical evidence there is an argument for cannabis as a treatment for some conditions. Legalise drugs per se and Boots for example will be undercut on price by those who still wish to make a profit thus making it a revenue offence. What we must bear in mind that the same people who smuggle cannabis and the like also smuggle weapons and people. Make no mistake drug dealing is a nasty business I have in the past dealt with dealers who only interest is profit for themselves.

    Regards Brian Blake

    ^^^ This idiot points out the problems with prohibition of cannabis … so supports more prohibition! People buy alcohol from licensed shops or pubs, they don’t buy bootleg liquor on the black market, why does he think people wouldn’t buy cannabis from say a licensed coffeeshop, as they have done in The Netherlands for the last few decades? He can’t spell properly either.

  3. Fairly generic answers there. As expected really. A lot of them still lumping all ‘drugs’ under one roof, claiming they all cause crime, and not admitting the harm that putting cannabis on the black market does.

  4. Dr Raj Chandran (Nottinghamshire) does have a section in his campaign leaflets that outline his support for increased activity in schools with the DARE program so we know he is keen on keeping drugs away from children. We should emphasise to him that legalisation would achieve this and support the aims of the DARE program.
    As for those who suggest a Royal Commission or more research – WHY ? – it’s all been done several times over and ignored. So we should ask these people why the previous research was rejected or flawed and what would constitute valid research in their opinion ? At least Dr Chandran said there is little he can do about it because there is very little that PCCs can do about anything !
    What do these candidates think about the damage done by Alcohol – which is a dangerous addictive drug and legal ?

  5. One more thing if anyone says that alcohol should not be freely available based on merit but because of historical precedent or social convention it is – then they are in direct contravention of the misuse of drugs act (MDA). The MDA has a specific clause that says the categorisation of substances should not be based on historical or social bias but solely on the potential to cause harm. Successive Home Secretaries have also been in contravention of this clause as well.

  6. Didn’t seem to get much of a response from Vera Baird QC as it seems she has no time if you’re not a Northumbrian…….however I am. As a member of NORML UK I would be happy to write myself and ask the same questions 😉

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