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Last Updated: Wednesday, 30 November 2005, 04:20 GMT
Brixton faces drugs policy U-turn
By Alison Freeman
BBC News, London

Brixton's high street
Brixton town centre is the focus of the clampdown
People with cannabis face a major clampdown in the area where plans to downgrade the drug were first tested, the BBC has learnt.

Anyone caught with even a small amount of cannabis in Brixton, south London, from 12 December, faces arrest.

When the drug was downgraded to class C last year, people possessing small quantities were no longer arrested.

The move will target dealers who avoid arrest by carrying only a little and those who visit Brixton to buy drugs.

Current legislation allows arrests to be made if cannabis is deemed problematic to an area.

A document seen by the BBC says that intelligence-led stop and search powers will be used to target the drug dealers.

In the document, the Borough Commander Ch Supt Martin Bridger is quoted as saying: "We want people to enjoy coming to Brixton without having to face drug dealing, its associated crime and the intimidating behaviour it can lead to.

You only have to walk down Brixton High Street and you face a barrage of offers for you to buy Hashish
Cllr Paul McGlone

"Our message to anyone thinking of selling, buying or carrying drugs of any kind in Brixton is simple - don't."

Councillor Paul McGlone who represents Ferndale ward in Brixton, where drug-dealing and use is prevalent, said he applauded the move.

He told BBC News: "You only have to walk down Brixton High Street and you face a barrage of offers for you to buy Hashish or whatever from aggressive drug dealers."

'Drug tourists'

Rachel Heywood, chair of the Brixton Area Forum said she hoped the move would stop 'drug tourists' coming to the area.

"As an area that has an international reputation as a drugs market it suffers disproportionately from people travelling in to the town centre to buy drugs.

"But they don't have any sense of the impact that these actions have upon the day to day lives of those of us who live and work here," she said.

The announcement on the move is to be made at a public meeting at Lambeth Town Hall later on Wednesday.

The Metropolitan Police (Met) refused to give information ahead of the official launch.




SEE ALSO:
Cannabis: Time to rethink?
09 May 05 |  Magazine


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