The ‘softly softly’ police approach to cannabis in Lambeth, south London, has effectively been reversed with the issue of tougher new operational guidelines for officers, They will now be encouraged to consider arresting those in possession of cannabis if they are smoking the drug under age, ostentatiously in public, or as part of disorderly behaviour. Over the past year, in a scheme initiated by Cdr Brian Paddick, the former head of Lambeth police, officers have been seizing cannabis and issuing warnings to those in possession, rather than making arrests. … The Paddick experiment ran for a year from July last year. The new rules will apply from Aug 1. … Officers had welcomed the discretion not to have to arrest people for possession of small amounts of the drug. But many were unhappy that they were apparently being discouraged from enforcing the law when cannabis was smoked in a way that upset the community. Lambeth police sources said they welcomed an approach in which officers would be ‘expected’ to enforce the law if cannabis were smoked in anti-social or disorderly circumstances. They added that they had stepped up activity against traffickers of Class A and Class B drugs.
Source:Daily Telegraph, Steele. July 2002