Londoners under 25 arrested with cannabis may soon be simply escorted home, rather than taken into custody. According to the British daily The Daily Telegraph, this measure should be announced at the end of January. It should start with a test phase, in the boroughs of Greenwhich, Lewisham and Bexley. These neighborhoods in the south of the capital are rather multi-ethnic.
Always according to the Telegraph, the police agreed to no longer initiate criminal proceedings against young people arrested with category B drugs. This includes cannabis, therefore, but also ketamine and ‘speed ‘. These three substances would remain illegal, but would be decriminalized de facto for those under 25. London would join Scotland, which decriminalized cannabis in September.
Instead of a stay at the police station, the police will offer young people a course on the dangers of drugs. A bit like the license point recovery courses. A process called “diversion”, to divert young people from drugs. If necessary, the police can also refer young people to care structures.
“We are working on devices that provide education and support to young people, rather than pushing them into the criminal justice system. With this, we try to divert them away from drugs and crime for good ”, pleads a spokesperson for the mayor of London.
Black youth are twice as likely to be searched
It is the young mayor of the district of Lewisham, Damien Egan (34) who will supervise this trial phase. The elected official had already taken a stand for a relaxation of the rules around cannabis. For example, in March 2020, he asked for legalization in the columns of theEvening Standard.
According to statistics from his borough, cannabis represents 90% of legal proceedings against young people. In addition, black youth in Lewisham are 2.4 times more likely to be searched by law enforcement officers. Met, London police.
This policy is part of a more flexible will of the Mayor of London. In the spring, during the campaign, Sadiq Khan had drawn the contours of this decriminalization of cannabis. However, at the time, he had not spoken of a stop of the prosecution only for the youngest.
The UK Conservative government is furious. the Home Office, the equivalent of the Home Office, recently promised to “Stop drug use” and “To ensure that those who break the law pay the consequences”.