The mayor of London is reportedly planning to end the prosecution of young people caught with cannabis by decriminalising certain drugs in the capital.
Sadiq Khan is set to roll out a new scheme which will allow people under 25 caught with Class B drugs to be offered speeding course-style classes or counselling, the Telegraph reports.
The London boroughs of Lewisham, Greenwich and Bexley will reportedly be part of the initial scheme.
Police officers will be told not to arrest young people caught with drugs including cannabis, ketamine and speed.
But the mayor’s plan comes just a month after prime minister Boris Johnson announced a huge crackdown on illegal substances as part of a 10-year plan to tackle drug-related offences.
He even warned middle-class users of ‘lifestyle drugs’ like cocaine could have their passports and driving licences taken off them.
Mr Johnson said in December: ‘What we’re also saying is we’re not going to sit idly by when you have lifestyle users also using Class A drugs, and we’re going to be coming down tougher on them.
‘We are looking at doing things to tackle those so-called lifestyle drug users who don’t think they are part of the problem. In the end, all the demand is helping to create the problem.
‘The 300,000 problem drugs users, you’ve got to deal with what is going on there, you’ve got to make sure they are given rehab, you’ve got to come down tough on the county lines gangs, but you’ve also got to think about what is happening with the demand, the economic advantage that is given to the gangs by the lifestyle users as well.’
Mr Khan’s scheme will reportedly be announced this month and spearheaded by Lewisham mayor Damien Egan.
The plans are based on research which suggests police time would be better spent tackling serious and violent crime.
The policy could extend to all Class B drugs, meaning ketamine and amphetamines – popularly known as ‘speed’ – would also be effectively decriminalised.
Similar schemes have previously been tested by police and crime commissioners in Somerset, Durham and the West Midlands.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, who was the director of public prosecutions before becoming an MP, has previously said he does not think decriminalisation should be pursued in this country.
Every April people flock to Hyde Park to openly smoke cannabis in a celebration called ‘420 day’.
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