BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific North Midlands/East West/South-West London/South North Midlands/East West/South-West London/South
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: UK: England  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
England
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales
Politics
Education
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Saturday, 29 December, 2001, 03:17 GMT
Cannabis warning trial extended
Cannabis plants
Ministers insist cannabis is not being decriminalised
A trial relaxation of cannabis laws in south London is to be extended by up to three months.

The six-month pilot scheme in Lambeth had been due to finish on New Year's Eve but Scotland Yard has decided to continue it while two reports into its success are being compiled.

Under the experiment, people found in possession of small quantities of cannabis are let off with a formal warning rather than being arrested and cautioned.

The idea of the scheme is to cut down demands on police time and to allow officers to focus on catching dealers in Class A drugs such as cocaine, crack and heroin.

The number of warnings is higher than the number of arrests which shows that our officers are not ignoring cannabis possession

Metropolitan Police spokesman
In November, Home Office minister Bob Ainsworth praised the Lambeth experiment, saying it had saved hundreds of hours of police time.

Two evaluations of the scheme are being carried out - by the Metropolitan police and by the Police Federation.

If they show favourable results, it could be widened to cover the whole of London.

A Scotland Yard spokesman said: "No decision on whether to extend the warning scheme across the Met will be made until February or March, and the scheme in Lambeth will continue to be used until then."

The force revealed that officers in Lambeth have continued to stop people suspected of drugs possession.

'Domestic use'

The latest figures show that they issued 381 warnings to people caught with cannabis between 2 July and 30 November, a Yard spokesman said.

In each case, the drug was confiscated and the user's name and address was recorded.

Last year officers arrested 278 people for cannabis possession in the same period.

The spokesman added: "Without the full evaluation, it would be wrong to read too much into the figures, but they do show that officers in Lambeth are using the scheme.

"The number of warnings is higher than the number of arrests which shows that our officers are not ignoring cannabis possession.

"The amount of cannabis being seized indicates domestic use, rather than dealing."


Key stories

Lambeth scheme

Background

FORUM

TALKING POINT

AUDIO VIDEO
See also:

24 Oct 01 | Politics
02 Jul 01 | Politics
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more England stories are at the foot of the page.


 E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more England stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes