Connect with us
Advertisement
Advertisement

News

No green light for growers

Avatar

Published

on

CannabisplantTHE LOCAL Police and Crime Commissioner, Christopher Salmon, has not ruled out a relaxation of the force’s interpretation of cannabis laws. His wait and see approach follows news this week that Durham’s commissioner is to allow cannabis users to grow their own plants.

Ron Hogg, says that cannabis users will be able to grow the substance for their own personal use only, after changing the way his force prioritises cannabis related crime. Our commissioner, Christopher Salmon, was asked by The Herald if the same could happen here. He said that he would ‘wait and see what evidence emerges’, adding, ‘the advantage to police and crime commissioners is the flexibility to take a local approach’.

Mr Hogg said: “We are not prioritising people who have a small number of cannabis plants for their own use. In low level cases we say it is better to work with them and put them in a position where they can recover.

“In these cases the most likely way of dealing with them would be with a caution and by taking the plants away and disposing of them. It is unlikely that a case like that would be brought before a court. Of course it is up to the government to change the law but I am trying to open up a debate about drugs and drugs policy.”

He went on to say: “Traditionally what would have happened is people would have been arrested for using cannabis, sometimes imprisoned and it just maintained a cycle of reoffending in and out of prison. We want to try and break that cycle whilst also having a sensible debate around cannabis. If they fail to engage then we will prosecute.”

He finished by stating: “By and large we are saying it is not the top of our list to go out and try to pick up people smoking joints on street corners but if it’s blatant or we get complaints, officers will act. Drugs cause immense harm to our communities. The question is how we tackle them. There hasn’t been a change in policy. We are taking an approach which reduces harm – by focusing on stopping people from using drugs, and tackling the organised gangs who are the source of the supply.

“Those who grow or deal in drugs, no matter on what scale, are responsible for causing massive harm to our communities, and will be tackled. The police are working with partners including the fire service to identify and tackle cannabis farms.”

However, the policy in Durham has received some criticism. Simon Stephens, director of casework for Addiction UK, said: “Essentially, I’m coming at this from a health perspective – I think that his comments aren’t particularly helpful. It does send a message that drugs are OK – there can be no doubt that there a significant amount of people with mental health problems brought on by cannabis.”

David Raynes of the National Drug Prevention Alliance, was also critical, saying: “Durham Constabulary are out on their own with this and are trying to lead the law on this issue. If the Chief Constable and Police Crime Commissioner want to indulge in that policy then it is not necessary to make it public, because clearly making this sort of announcement will serve to encourage anyone who so minded.”

In 2013 Durham’s current Chief Constable, Mike Barton, made what some people considered to be controversial comments on his force’s policy on drug prosecution, stating: “If an addict were able to access drugs via the NHS or something similar, then they would not have to go out and buy illegal drugs. Addiction to anything is not a good thing, but outright prohibition hands revenue streams to villains. Not all crime gangs raise income through selling drugs, but most of them do in my experience. So offering an alternative route of supply to users cuts their income stream off. What I am saying is that drugs should be controlled. They should not, of course, be freely available. Have we not learned the lessons of prohibition in history? The Mob’s sinister rise to prominence in the US was pretty much funded through its supply of a prohibited drug, alcohol. That’s arguably what we are doing in the UK.”

Commenting on Dyfed-Powys’ current position, a police spokesperson said: “Dyfed-Powys follows national guidance in the way in which it deals with those people who commit drug offences. There are a number of outcomes possible for those who offend, recognising the circumstances and nature of each individual offence. These outcomes range from cannabis warnings to those who appear at court.”

Mr Salmon did go on to say: “Drugs do great damage to people’s lives. I’m clear we must do everything we can to reduce the harm caused. While we have no plans to follow Durham, I will see what evidence emerges.”

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

News

Antisocial behaviour falls as police operation continues

Avatar

Published

on

POLICE said that they saw a reduction in antisocial behaviour involving young people in Carmarthenshire over the weekend, following weeks of increased activity.

Dyfed-Powys Police officers proactively patrolled areas which have recently become hot spots for teenagers to gather and drink alcohol as part of an ongoing operation.

A police presence was also maintained on trains between Llanelli and Carmarthen to identify how many youngsters were travelling in the area and where they were getting off.

Sergeant Gemma Davies said: “Over the weekend we continued our work to target, deter and deal with antisocial behaviour and underage drinking in hot spots identified primarily in Llanelli and Burry Port.

“Section 34 dispersal orders had been put in place ahead of the weekend, meaning we could move on anyone likely to cause antisocial behaviour, but thankfully they were not required. This is an improvement on previous weekends when we have had to exercise these powers.

“A significant number of young people were spoken to, with the vast majority being pleasant, not under the influence of alcohol, and not causing any trouble.

“Members of the public acknowledged the high police presence, as did the young people, and this might have deterred underage drinking.

“We are very pleased to have seen the change in attitudes and behaviour this weekend.”

The force received just one call reporting youngsters gathering at Burry Port harbour, with no offences or antisocial behaviour identified by attending officers.

Of the young people spoken two over the weekend, two were found with alcohol which was seized. Follow-up antisocial behaviour letters will be issued, and home visits will take place shortly.

Groups were also reminded of the dangers of swimming near the harbour and were encouraged to take their rubbish home.

Officers on the rail network removed one drunk adult from a train.

Sgt Davies said: “I would like to thank all officers involved in the operation over the weekend, as well as the young people who made sure they stayed within the law while enjoying the weather.

“We will be out and about again next weekend and throughout the summer, making sure the area is enjoyable for all who visit.”

Continue Reading

Health

Lord Lieutenant visits Mass Vaccination Centre

Avatar

Published

on

Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant of Dyfed, Miss Sarah Edwards, has paid tribute to all those involved in the COVID-19 vaccination programme during a visit to the Y Ffwrness Mass Vaccination Centre in Llanelli.

During the visit on Wednesday 9th June she was joined by the Vice Lord-Lieutenant, Lt Col David Mathias, and the High Sheriff of Dyfed, Mr.Jonathan Gravell. They met and spoke to the centre’s vaccinators, NHS staff, security staff and volunteers.

To date, the collective efforts of mass vaccination centres, GP practices and community pharmacies in Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire, have resulted in the Hywel Dda University Health Board delivering over 431,850 vaccinations. This means 266,785 of the eligible population have now received a first vaccine, and 165,056 have received both doses.

The Lord-Lieutenant of Dyfed said: “It was wonderful to see first-hand the incredible work being undertaken by the vaccinators, NHS staff and volunteers. They have played a crucial role in the success of the vaccine rollout programme. I would also pay tribute to the public for their overwhelmingly positive response to getting vaccinated.”

Maria Battle, Chair of Hywel Dda University Health Board, added: “On behalf of the health board, I was delighted to welcome Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Dyfed, Miss Sara Edwards, the Vice Lord-Lieutenant, Lt Col David Mathias, and the High Sheriff of Dyfed, Mr Jonathan Gravell. I am deeply proud of everyone involved in the vaccination programme and I’m glad they got to see for themselves the incredibly work being undertaken to help get us through this pandemic.”

Continue Reading

News

Alcohol seized and teenager arrested as police deal with antisocial behaviour

Avatar

Published

on

POLICE seized large amounts of alcohol and arrested a teenager as they continued to deal with antisocial behaviour over the weekend.

Dyfed-Powys Police had proactive plans in place to deal with ongoing issues of groups of youngsters gathering in Carmarthenshire following rising reports of alcohol-related antisocial behaviour over the past two months.

Dispersal orders were in place across Llanelli and Burry Port, giving police the powers to move anyone believed to be causing a nuisance, harassment or distress out of the area.

Officers patrolling the rail network in Carmarthenshire on Saturday noticed a large amount of young people getting off the train at Ferryside, where an additional dispersal order was put in place and alcohol was seized.

Officers were also required to deal with children trespassing on the railway tracks.

Sergeant Gemma Davies said: “We had received reports of children with alcohol running across the tracks, which posed a huge danger to themselves and others, and had to be stopped as a priority.

“One boy who was detained became abusive towards officers and could not be reasoned with. Officers had no choice but to arrest him for his own safety and to prevent further offences from being committed.

“This incident goes to show that the kind of behaviour we are dealing with goes beyond groups of young people meeting to have a good time, and is putting people in highly dangerous situations.”

A 17-year-old boy was arrested on suspicion of trespassing on the railway and using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour to cause harassment, alarm or distress.

He has been released under investigation pending further enquiries by British Transport Police.

Early intervention was taken in the Trostre area of Llanelli, where officers noticed groups of children meeting on Saturday.

Sgt Davies said: “More than 60 young people were moved on from both locations and a large amount of alcohol was seized.

“Out of these groups, four notices were issued to those causing the most trouble in the Trostre area which prevented them from returning, and each of these youngsters were taken home.

“This swift action was a deterrent to other young people who were planning on joining the groups and were still travelling to the area.”

“We will continue to put plans in place each weekend and over the summer holidays to deal with antisocial behaviour, using all powers available to us to put a stop to it.”

Continue Reading

Trending

FOLLOW US ON FACEBOOK