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Police should prioritise 111 and speeding

15 February 2005

Police should prioritise 111 and speeding ahead of cannabis

The Police would have time to catch both murderers and speeding drivers if they stopped charging people for cannabis, says Green MP Nandor Tanczos

"National, Act and New Zealand First want the Police to make a choice between responding to rapes and murders or reducing deaths on the road, but it is not an 'either or' situation, there is a Third Way," said Nandor, the Green Party's Drug Law Reform Spokesperson.

"The equivalent of around 50 frontline officers could be freed up to respond to 111 calls if New Zealand's Police followed the policy of their British counterparts and stopped charging people for cannabis offences. That decision could be made by the Police themselves, as was initially the case in Britain, or by the Minister of Police through his purchase agreement.

In Parliament today, Nandor asked George Hawkins, the under-siege Police Minister, whether such a move could be the solution to the current controversy over Policing priorities.

"In Britain, Police only arrest for cannabis when there are aggravating circumstances. That has freed up resources to deal with both gun crime and hard drug offences.

"There are good reasons for the Police to continue doing traffic duty, but there are no good arguments why Police should be wasting 200,000 hours a year prosecuting cannabis users.

"Murder and speeding both cause deaths. Heavy use of cannabis can cause health problems, but there are no recorded deaths from cannabis overdoses," said Nandor.

ENDS

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