Sadiq Khan defies Boris Johnson and Keir Starmer over drug ‘decriminalization’ pilot

Sadiq Khan has doubled his plans to pilot the decriminalization of hash in some areas of London, despite criticism from the Labor leader and the Prime Minister.

In a Article to I, the mayor of London said using “diversionary actions” – where young people caught with small amounts of the drug are not arrested but instead offered education or counseling – was a “progressive” approach to steer them away from the criminal justice system and a life with crime.

Khan said the authorities “can never simply be able to arrest our way out of the problem, and trying to do so will only further anchor harmful disproportion, which we see throughout the justice system, particularly affecting young black men.”

The mayor confirmed that the pilot scheme for three districts of London is in the planning phase. It would see that 18-24 year olds found in possession of small amounts of cannabis would be offered alternatives to arrest and potential criminal convictions.

Other police forces, including the Thames Valley, are already using a similar approach, with figures showing it has reduced recidivism, Mr Khan wrote, adding that they have “received support across parties, so it makes sense to see whether it could also be tried successfully here in London. ”.

He added: “Overall, we need to recognize the need for more progressive, rather than punitive, approaches when it comes to low levels of drug-related offenses, and look at the latest evidence when it comes to prevent offenses and make society safer. ”

When news of the pilot surfaced earlier this week, Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer said he was “very aware that we are not in favor of changing drug laws”.

Boris Johnson’s spokesman said the government “absolutely did not intend to decriminalize dangerous and harmful substances for recreational use”, adding: “Decriminalization would leave organized criminals in control, while risking an increase in drug use and crime. violence that destroys our streets. “

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