UK police bosses are looking to end the prosecution of those caught with small amounts of recreational drugs for the first time.
The proposals, created by the National Police Chiefs’ Council and the College of Policing, would essentially decriminalise the possession of recreational drugs, including class A and B, according to The Telegraph.
This means that if a police officer catches someone with small amounts of drugs, including marijuana and cocaine, there will be “no further action” recorded if the individual takes part in an education or treatment programme — and will be left with no criminal record.
However, police warned that individuals would be prosecuted if they fail to take part in the programmes or were caught in possession of drugs again.
Currently, 14 out of the 45 police forces in the UK already adopt similar policies and strategies — including the Durham Constabulary, Thames Valley Police and West Midlands Police.
It would mean that the UK would follow a similar policy to countries such as Portugal, who since 2001 have decriminalised personal drug use and possession, instead diverting those caught to education and rehabilitation programmes.
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Last week, an Irish Parliament committee recommended a similar policy in Ireland, suggesting the decriminalisation and regulation of illegal drugs for personal use, as well as investment to harm reduction services, addiction treatments and social interventions.
The proposed plans see the UK’s police chiefs taking a different line to the British government however, who have pledged to crack down on recreational drug use.
A White Paper detailing potential future policy proposals called Swift, Certain Tough: New Consequences for Drug Possession published earlier this year, included the suggestions that drug users would be banned from driving and foreign travel, as well as increasing stop and search powers.
Isaac Muk is Mixmag's Digital Intern, follow him on Twitter