Plymouth Live UK reports
A retired crime commissioner and charity chief have rounded on suggestions by Devon and Cornwall’s crime commissioner that cannabis should be reclassified as a class A drug, alongside crack cocaine and heroin. Jason Reed, co-executive director of Law Enforcement Action Partnership (LEAP UK) – a United Nations accredited non-government organisation and charity – said the idea put forward last month by Alison Hernandez was “dangerously off base”.
He emphasised that her view did not take into account a number of important facts and highlighted how LEAP’s expertise in the field was recognised, thanks to its inclusion of members of law enforcement, military and others who have worked at the drugs frontline. He said his organisation called for “evidence and health based approaches to drug policy in order to make society safer, loosen the grip of organised crime, and help give services the chance to deal with drugs in appropriate manners.”
In June Ms Hernandez joined officers from Merseyside Police’s specialist ‘Medusa’ team who were targeting County Lines drugs gangs operating in the South West. The operation, which saw Devon and Cornwall Police officers work alongside the specialist Medusa team, sought to disrupt drug gangs from Merseyside setting up shop in coastal towns, like those of Torquay and Plymouth, often deploying violence and intimidation to run their profitable enterprises. However, during the operation she dismissed suggestions that legalisation would reduce crime and said the law should actually be tougher.
She said: “Cannabis, potentially, should probably be a class A, not a class B drug. The level of psychosis and actual harm to individuals by taking these drugs is so great that I would never look to legalise it.
“You could talk about the legalisation of alcohol and tobacco, but hey, we’ve still got an illicit industry in the sale of those as well. So it doesn’t even take away the black market.”
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Devon and Cornwall’s Police and Crime Commissioner has suggested cannabis should become a Class A drug – like heroin and crack cocaine – and should never be legalised.
Alison Hernandez made the suggestion following a large police operation in south Devon which utilised a specialist team of plain-clothes officers from Merseyside Police to help crack down on drug users and dealers allegedly involved in County Lines.
The operation saw a vast array of officers from Devon and Cornwall Police take part including dog handlers and dogs, drone pilots, custody officers, Special constables as well as response officers, neighbourhood officers and detectives
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