The Police: A Force To Trust Or A Trust That Has Been Broken?
Ever since the 1960s the law against cannabis has been driving a wedge between the people and the police. If anything it is even more of a problem now than it used to be. It is creating truly horrendous problems of alienation, violence and social breakdown.
In Britain we rely on policing by consent. That is why our police officers are usually unarmed. It is fundamental to our culture, our tradition and it marks us out from the rest of the world. Last summer though, it all went wrong.
There were many causes and factors involved in the riots but the most important of all was the sense of alienation felt by inner city youth, particularly from the black and Asian minorities. More than anything else, what fuels this resentment is the extensive use of stop and search powers. Although the police may claim that the are looking for guns and knives, in practice they are after cannabis
Prohibition demands compliance from everyone and the only way to enforce it is to monitor each and every one of us. Many completely innocent young people are subjected to stop and search, a humiliating experience which simply teaches them that the police are their enemy.
Supporters of prohibition are forever demanding stronger enforcement, including random drug testing in schools. Again, such measures only serve to undermine trust and to make young people feel that the authorities regard them all as criminals.
This feeling of alienation from the police is not confined to teenagers. Prohibition enforcement is corrosive to every level of police/community relations.
Prohibition is a means of oppression. Proper regulation of the cannabis trade would mean laws that are in the interests of the people by ensuring a high quality product, protection from illegal dealers and recourse to the law when problems do occur. Such laws would have the natural support of the majority. In addition proper control of the cannabis trade would better protect children by imposing age limits for purchase and by preventing their involvement with the criminal supply network.
Peter Reynolds said:
"Out there on the streets what really breaks down the relationship between the police and the public is young men feeling harrassed over a bit of 'personal'. The police should be on our side, not our enemies, and they would be if they weren't compelled to enforce a law that is not about protecting people but about enforcing an arbitrary standard of behaviour, determined not by science or logic but by prejudice. Prohibition is a fundamentally immoral policy that is destroying our society."
Cannabis Law Reform (CLEAR) is a political party registered with the Electoral Commission under the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 (PPERA) to promote the cause of cannabis law reform, with the aim of replacing the anarchic mess of prohibition with a framework of real legal control which would allow proper control of the trade, ensure proper regulation of the product in terms of strength and purity and provide proper protection for vulnerable people such as children.
If you would like more information on this topic or an other aspect of the work of Cannabis Law Reform (CLEAR), or to arrange an interview with Peter Reynolds please contact him on 07880 872022 email@example.com or contact the CLEAR Press agent Derek Williams 07941 238908 firstname.lastname@example.org
Cannabis Law Reform, PO Box 674, Salfords, Redhill, Surrey RH1 9BN United Kingdom