Police Association not pleased with discretionary approach to drug use

NewsTalk ZB 1 May 2019
Family First Comment: “Several submitters, including the Law Society and the Police Association, told the committee that the wording in the bill would effectively decriminalise all drug use and possession because it would be easy to argue in court that every user would benefit more from a therapeutic approach than a prosecution. Association president Chris Cahill told the committee that the bill was effectively telling police to move from a default presumption to prosecute to one of non-prosecution for all drug users, which would lead to a “dramatic” decline in police charges…. it was an issue that should have wider public debate rather than be “slipped in” to a bill that was primarily about synthetic drugs.”
#SoftOnDrugs

The Government says its bill to make drug use a health issue is not default decriminalisation, even though a select committee was told today that prosecutions for drug use or possession will seldom if ever be brought under the bill.

And while there appears to be broad support for a health focus, Parliament’s health select committee was told that there would be no point without a massive injection of resources for heath and addiction services across the whole country.

The Misuse of Drugs Amendment Bill, currently before the committee, is the Government’s response to the synthetic cannabis crisis and would classify synthetic drugs AMB-FUBINACA and 5F-ADB as Class A drugs; dealers of Class A drugs face a lifetime in prison.

It would also codify police discretion into law, clarifying that a prosecution for drug use or possession – regardless of which drug – should only be pursued if it was in the public interest, taking into account whether a “health-centred or therapeutic approach would be more beneficial”.

Several submitters, including the Law Society and the Police Association, told the committee that the wording in the bill would effectively decriminalise all drug use and possession because it would be easy to argue in court that every user would benefit more from a therapeutic approach than a prosecution.

Association president Chris Cahill told the committee that the bill was effectively telling police to move from a default presumption to prosecute to one of non-prosecution for all drug users, which would lead to a “dramatic” decline in police charges.

While the association did not have a position for or against decriminalisation, he said it was an issue that should have wider public debate rather than be “slipped in” to a bill that was primarily about synthetic drugs.
READ MORE: https://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/on-air/larry-williams-drive/audio/chris-cahill-police-association-not-pleased-with-discretionary-approach-to-drug-use/

Drug law change ‘goes too far’ – Police Association
Radio NZ News 1 May 2019
https://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/388222/drug-law-change-goes-too-far-police-association

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