At least half were for possession of cannabis
There were 1,393 drug offences in Wandsworth between January 2018 and September 2019 according to data from the Metropolitan Police.
This compared to 1,146 in Kingston-Upon-Thames and just 530 in Richmond-Upon-Thames.
Information released under a Freedom of Information Request to the Local Democracy Reporting Service showed that last year 839 people were arrested for possession of cannabis across Kingston and Wandsworth – with 223 in Kingston and 616 in Wandsworth.
In the period to 30 September 2019, more than 750 people have been arrested for possession of cannabis in Kingston and Wandsworth, while 177 people have been arrested for supply.
It comes alongside calls for cannabis to be legalised in the UK, with the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan calling for a rethink on cannabis laws and policing due to the links between drugs and violent crime. He told the Evening Standard he would like to see an “evidence-based conversation” about cannabis.
The law says those possessing cannabis can face prison sentences for up to five years and up to 14 years for supply and production.
However, many people only receive a cannabis warning if they have a small amount on them. These warnings do not show up on criminal records checks, but are recorded on the police database.
Repeat offenders can face a fine, caution or prosecution. It is currently a Class-B, middle-risk, substance. However, recreational use is legal in Canada and Uruguay and 11 states in America. It is decriminalised in a further 15 US states.
It is also allowed for medicinal uses in many countries, including in the UK under certain circumstances.
According to data from the Home Office, cannabis was the most commonly seized drug in 2017/18 involved in 72 per cent of all seizures. However, the number of seizures has fallen dramatically, declining by 47 per cent from 2008/09 to 2017/18.
Responding to the data, the South West Basic Command Unit, which polices most of South West London, insisted it was still important to arrest people for possession and supply of the drug while it is still illegal.
Chief Inspector Arditti from South West BCU Neighbourhoods, said, “Officers across our BCU use their powers to proactively stop and search people for different reasons. Often this is as a result of concerns raised to us directly by the community. As a result, we find people in illegal possession of items such as knives, stolen property and drugs. We will continue to arrest people suspected of breaking the law, when proportionate and necessary. We will also continue to seek the commensurate subsequent outcome.”
Sian Bayley - Local Democracy Reporter
November 19, 2019