Sadiq Khan comments on two fatal teenage stabbings in London
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Mr Khan was forced to deny that he was decriminalising drugs under the scheme which would allow people aged between 18 and 24 to possess up to 14g (half an ounce) of cannabis and avoid criminal charges. According to the mayor it could help reduce reoffending.
However, the Home Office said that decriminalisation would lead to “lead to lawlessness” and increase serious violence.
Downing Street also reiterated that the Government had “no intention of decriminalising dangerous and harmful substances”.
City Hall said the scheme was subject to final funding approval and “does not mean that the mayor is moving to decriminalise cannabis — something that he does not have the power to do”.
Sir Keir Starmer, the Labour leader also stated that he was not in favour of changing the law.
However, despite the condemnation the scheme is similar to another scheme started by the Metropolitan Police last year.
The Chance to Change programme, run by the Ministry of Justice, is also run in Yorkshire.
The Yorkshire scheme allows offenders accused of low-level drug use or other offences such as burglary or criminal damage to avoid a criminal record.
Although they do not have to admit guilt, offenders must agree to certain conditions such as rehabilitation or paying reparations.
Khan’s decriminalising drugs initiative is similar to schemes used by different police forces across the country.
One example is in Durham where offenders are arrested but offered a deferred prosecution.
At the same time, they participate in the Checkpoint programme to address the cause of their offending, for example drugs or alcohol.
Police in Durham have reported lower rates of reoffending as well as reduced police and court time.
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Khan’s proposed London scheme, run by Volteface, would require young people stopped with cannabis to submit to certain conditions such as attending support services.
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