Second Largest Police Force in England & Wales to Stop Criminalising Drug Users
“Police-led drug diversion schemes have developed in recognition that criminalisation does not deter use but can cause significant harms for those who are subject to criminal sanctions,” said Niamh Eastwood, executive director of drug law charity Release.
“Decriminalisation schemes reflect the evidence and experience of countries around the world that have ended criminal sanctions for possession offences, with those diverted reporting better health, social and economic outcomes,” said Eastwood. Although Portugal has the most established system of drug decriminalisation, the tactic is being used in some form in 30 countries around the world.
She continued: “It reduces the burden on police resources and reduces the risk of reoffending. We know that first entry into the criminal justice system increases further contact [with criminals], and drug possession offences are the gateway into that system. We just hope that eventually the UK government will follow the evidence on drug policy as well.”