UK police bosses have submitted plans to stop the prosecution of first-time offenders caught with small amounts of recreational drugs.
Proposals from the National Police Chiefs’ Council and the College of Policing could decriminalise the possession of recreational drugs, including class A and B substances, as reported by The Telegraph.
New laws could mean that if a police officer catches someone with small amounts of drugs, including marijuana and cocaine, there will be “no further action”. Instead, they will be offered the chance to partake in an education or treatment programme, leaving them with no criminal record.
However, police have warned that people will be prosecuted if they fail to take part in the programmes or are caught in possession of drugs again.
14 out of the 45 police forces in the UK currently adopt similar policies and strategies, including the Durham Constabulary, Thames Valley Police and West Midlands Police.
The new proposal, if brought into effect, would mean that the UK will follow a similar policy to countries like Portugal, who, since 2001, have decriminalised personal drug use and possession, instead diverting those caught to education and rehabilitation programmes.