Police will retain the power to arrest cannabis users to protect children,
under reforms to be announced this week by David Blunkett.

The Home Secretary was consulting ministers this weekend on his final plans
to reclassify cannabis from a class B to a class C drug, which will abolish
police powers of arrest in most cases. The police warned that total
abolition could lead to humiliation of the police by drug users.

Kate Hoey, a former minister, led Labour backbench criticism of the
experiment in Brixton of a ''softly-softly'' approach to cannabis. Residents
said it had made the streets more unsafe.

Mr Blunkett will announce that police will have the power to arrest cannabis
users where they feel public order or the interests of children could be put
at risk.

Whitehall sources said it would mean the police could arrest people flouting
the law by openly smoking cannabis on the steps of a police station.

Mr Blunkett also will reject calls to lower the classification of ecstasy to
a soft drug. He has also rejected a cross-party recommendation for
''shooting galleries'' to be provided for heroin addicts.

Webpage: http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/politics/story.jsp?story=312785
Pubdate: Sun, 7 Jul 2002
Source: Independent on Sunday (UK)
Copyright: Independent Newspapers (UK) Ltd.
Contact: letters@independent.co.uk
Website: http://www.independent.co.uk/
Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/208
Author: Colin Brown
Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/find?207 (Cannabis - United Kingdom)