Psychoactive Substances Act now in forceA blanket ban on so-called ‘legal highs’ and tough new enforcement powers came into effect on 26 May. The Psychoactive Substances Act protects young people and those vulnerable to using these substances by banning any trade for human consumption of these potentially dangerous drugs.
The act provides a range of criminal and civil sanctions including new powers for police and tough sentences for offenders.
Sanctions under the act include:
- up to 7 years in prison for the supply, production, possession with intent to supply, importation or exportation of a psychoactive substance for human consumption
- up to 2 years in prison for possessing a psychoactive substance in a custodial institution
- prohibition and premises orders which will allow police to shut down head shops and online dealers in the UK, with up to 2 years in prison for those who fail to comply
The government has already taken action against so called ‘legal highs’, having banned more than 500 potentially dangerous drugs.
The new act will go even further but legislation alone is not enough. The government continues to take action across prevention, treatment and recovery to reduce harmful drug use and is working with experts to develop a new drugs strategy.
The Home Office has produced a new psychoactive substances resource pack for informal educators and frontline practitioners. Request a copy by e-mailing: CrimeandPolicingPartners@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk.
Proposed revisions to magistrates’ court guidelinesThe Sentencing Council has published proposals for revisions to some of the magistrates’ court sentencing guidelines.
The aim is to introduce a consistent approach to sentencing in all magistrates’ courts in England and Wales.
The council has developed a more sophisticated methodology for assessing the seriousness of offences in its guidelines compared with those previously produced and wants to ensure that this approach is applied across the board.
The Sentencing Council is keen to hear people’s views of the proposals, particularly:
- people working in the criminal justice system
- people who have an interest in this area of sentencing
Proposed guidelines for sentencing of young offendersThe Sentencing Council has published proposed new guidelines for sentencing young offenders.
The guidelines will provide judges and magistrates with up-to-date guidance that will help ensure consistency in sentencing in England and Wales, and will ensure that young people who commit offences are sentenced fairly and proportionately, with the primary aim of stopping them reoffending.
The Sentencing Council has launched a consultation on its proposed guidelines which will close on 3 August. You can find more information about the proposals and take part in the consultation on the Sentencing Council’s website.
Promoting the National Citizen Service for your teen campaignThe Cabinet Office is encouraging organisations to promote the National Citizen Service (NCS) for your teen campaign to their staff. The campaign aims to inform parents of the positive benefits participating in the NCS can have on their teenager, and encourage them to speak to their teenager about NCS. More information about the campaign is available.
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