Sussex … 1 in 7 Arrested With Cannabis Charged

As your faithful correspondent is originally from Sussex.

CLR thought we’d better report this

The Brighton Argus reports

AROUND one in seven people caught with cannabis in Sussex last year were charged, figures reveal.

Campaigners say enforcement of the law dictating cannabis use is a “postcode lottery” and have called for possession of the drug to be decriminalised altogether.

Home Office data shows that of 2,661 cannabis possession offences closed by Sussex Police last year, 365 resulted in a charge or summons.

That’s a charge rate of 14 per cent although it excludes a further 295 offences that had not yet been assigned an outcome.

Across England and Wales, there were 117,000 cannabis possession offences recorded in 2020 that had reached an outcome.

Of those, 17 per cent ended in a charge – down from 21 per cent in 2019.

The figures do not include Greater Manchester Police as it did not submit complete data.

North Wales Police recorded the highest charge rate, at 34 per cent, while Surrey Police charged just seven per cent of offences.

Niamh Eastwood, executive director of drugs charity Release, said young people are disproportionately criminalised for having the drug, limiting their education and work opportunities.

“It is right that most people caught in possession are not charged and avoid the burden of a criminal record,” she added.

“That being said, the postcode lottery that exists in how this offence is treated is why we need a national approach.”

She said the Misuse of Drugs Act – which is 50 years old this month – has not succeeded in reducing drug use and called for decriminalisation of possession coupled with investment in treatment.

The most common type of outcome recorded by Sussex Police last year was an informal out of court disposal, which accounted for 660 offences.

These took the form of community resolutions, which could involve an apology and some form of reparation.

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