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Time To Divert Police Resources Into Real Crime

In light of the current police funding crisis and suggestions that significant cuts may be made to areas such as police training, the Coalition for Cannabis Law Reform has today urged Police Minister Hawkins to divert police resources currently wasted on attempts to enforce cannabis laws.

"The police wasted over 300 000 hours and $25 million arresting and prosecuting some 15 000 New Zealanders in 1998/99 for cannabis related, and victimless, offences. This money would be put to better use training and equipping our police force to fight real crimes such as home invasions and child abuse," Deborah Morris said today.

"New Zealand has the highest arrest rate for cannabis offences in the world with ten percent of police personnel and resources wasted each year in an attempt to enforce what is quite obviously an unenforceable law. Rather than throwing more good money down the drain, Mr Hawkins would do well to instruct the police to place a low priority on the enforcement of cannabis laws.

Taking such a decision would demonstrate a commonsense approach to the use of police resources," added Ms Morris

The Coalition had called for a moratorium on all cannabis-related arrests while the government conducts its review of the appropriateness of the legal status of cannabis. A moratorium on cannabis arrests would give police more time for real crime and create an opportunity for New Zealanders to debate this issue openly and honestly without fear of arrest or imprisonment.

Ends

Contact: Deborah Morris (025) 544-299 or Les Gray (09) 436-2349


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