Orders of the Day — Drugs (Sentencing and Commission of Inquiry) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 11:21 am on 25th February 2005.

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Photo of Fiona Mactaggart Fiona Mactaggart Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office) 11:21 am, 25th February 2005

That story was based on what was said by a single officer in the Metropolitan police. There is no evidence of a surge in imports. The Observer referred to one officer, but the Met and ACPO support the policy on reclassification. They changed policing on personal possession, but they did not affect policing on Customs, or Customs policy on importation and dealing. Penalties for those things have not changed at all: we still have a 14-year penalty for dealing. The police have been shown to be effective in targeting dealers and importers. Indeed, perhaps the 199,000 police hours to which I referred earlier have enabled the police to target mass importation of cannabis rather than spending their time arresting users who were smoking with their friends. Frankly, in my view, that is a better use of police time. That action is likely to reduce the harm that cannabis can cause more effectively than anything else.

Our public information campaign, including 600,000 leaflets and radio and television advertisements, has had a real impact on the young people who are the most vulnerable targets for cannabis.