Saturday, 7 April 2007

The Police Federation of England and Wales say: Cannabis is the number one gateway drug.

This is what Jan Berry, Chairman of The Police Federation of England and Wales has to say about the reclassification of Cannabis:

Cannabis is a problematic drug not least because of growing evidence of links to psychotic illness in young people and contemporary attitudes to the drug as being ‘soft’.

We expressed our concern over a year ago over on whether the correct decision had been made to reclassify the drug from a Class B to a Class C, as we felt it would create confusion among the public on the legality of possession.

This has already presented problems for police officers throughout the country who are tasked with enforcing this confusing law and we would therefore support the reinstating of cannabis to a Class B drug category”.

The Police Federation of England and Wales:

Is opposed to the reclassification of cannabis as we believe it to be the number one illicit gateway drug.

Feel that the term ‘reclassification’ is however all too often wrongly confused with ‘decriminalisation’.

Policing is all about prioritisation: cannabis does not need to be reclassified to be re-prioritised. The resulting message to young people has been vague and confusing, doing little to deglamorise the drug.

Believe it is essential the government follow a holistic drug policy; substantial investment must be made into drug rehabilitation programmes. If not, drug addicts leaving prison are highly likely to return to a life of crime.

We believe in a three-pronged attack on the drugs menace combining better education, speedy rehabilitation and firm enforcement of the law.

The public, particularly those young people who are so often the target for drugs suppliers, must be better educated about the damage drugs can cause. We therefore strongly advocate the introduction of a national drug information programme to educate the public - particularly young people and children.

We support the sentencing of drug users with Drug Testing and Treatment Orders (DTTO) yet the recent Street Crime Initiative demonstrated that current rehabilitation provision is insufficient. The socio-economic cost of crime far exceeds the cost of rehabilitation. Funding must therefore be found, ring-fenced and targeted in order to cut the cycle of drug taking and crime.

Feel there must continue to be a multi-agency approach to combating drugs, with greater international cooperation in reducing supply into the country.

The number of teenage Cannabis users has increased since reclassification. Considering reports that the drug is now stronger than ever before, the reclassification should be reversed.

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