Three more police forces have signalled that those who grow cannabis for their own consumption will not be targeted, it has emerged.
Those caught smoking or cultivating the drug on a small scale in Derbyshire, Dorset and Surrey, can expect to escape with little more than a caution, according to reports.
The development comes after Durham Constabulary declared it would only go after people using the drug if there was a complaint or if they were being “blatant”.
The change in attitudes will be seen as a further step towards decriminalisation and follows claims by drug experts that police forces across Britain are quietly turning a blind eye to cannabis use in order to focus their attentions on more pressing priorities.
While the Government has insisted it has no intention of relaxing the laws on Class B narcotic, police chiefs have increasingly been taking a more lenient approach, with users more likely to receive a warning than face prosecution.
Police and crime commissioners (PCCs) are understood to be coming under pressure to outline their priorities to chief constables.
Kevin Hurley, Surrey’s PCC, branded the row a “pointless debate”, adding that answering 999 calls and catching dangerous criminals must come first.
He said: “On the list of priorities cannabis moves a long way down the chain.” The third PCC, Martyn Underhill of Dorset, said he supported Durham’s stance and was keen to investigate.
Steve Rolles, senior policy analyst with the drug reform campaigners, Transform, acknowledged last week that the situation varied widely across the country.
He said: “There are other police authorities that are doing similar things but they are not shouting about it. As police forces face increasing cuts they will have to make these decisions.
“I do not see this as an ideological position but a resource issue, directing their limited resources towards where they are needed.”A POLICE force criticised for “going soft” on smallscale cannabis growers is using public funds to send of-ficers for meditation lessons.
Meanwhile, it has emerged that Durham Constabulary is receiving public health funding from Durham county council to give officers and civilian staff the chance to take part in a five-week mindfulness pilot scheme.
The aim of the course is to help prevent stress and anxiety in those taking part and to give them a greater sense of “wellbeing”.
The pilot is led by Det Sgt Hannah Bell, who said: “At first I thought ‘are people going to really want this?’ But people are really on board. Staff are more engaged and are enjoying their roles more.”
Published by Victoria Ward for the Telegraph