‘Swift, Certain, Tough: New Consequences for Drug Possession’ white paper

19 Jul

The Home office yesterday published a consultation regarding proposed reforms to the criminal justice system and how it deals with adult drug possession offences and proposed changes to ‘drug testing on arrest’ powers.

The consultation proposes a range of tougher penalties in relation to possession offences for so-called ‘recreational drugs’:

  • first-time offenders are required to pay for and attend a drug awareness course or, if they don’t, pay an increased fixed penalty notice or face prosecution
  • those found using drugs for a second time are given a caution, sent on a further drug awareness course and face a period of mandatory, random drug testing for a period of up to three months
  • offenders caught for the third time would likely be charged for their offence, and upon conviction, as part of a civil court order, could be subject to an exclusion order banning them from a specific location, such as a nightclub

The Exclusion Orders proposed in point three above could, if adopted, prohibit a person from attending a defined area for a set period, for example, a particular venue in the night-time economy or a wider geographical area during set times. The restriction might be applied, where necessary and proportionate, to prevent further drug possession offending if, for example, there is evidence that restricting an offender’s presence at certain locations during certain times is likely to deter future drug use.  Such Orders could last up to 12 months.

Offenders could also be given a drug tag monitoring their usage and have their passports and driving licences confiscated.

Although there are many aspects of this Policy which will be of interest to our industry, how Exclusion Orders will be policed and their potential impact on Operators who may unwittingly allow access in contravention of an Order is not fully explained. 

The consultation will close at 11:59 pm on 10th October 2022. 

We shall keep you updated. 

Law correct at the date of publication.
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