Laughing gas ban welcomed by county police chiefs - The Evesham Observer

Laughing gas ban welcomed by county police chiefs

Evesham Editorial 27th Mar, 2023   0

POLICING chiefs across Worcestershire have welcomed the proposed ban on ‘laughing gas’ despite a warning the move will ‘likely deliver more harm than good’.

Unveiled as part of a crackdown on anti-social behaviour on Monday (March 27) Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said possession of nitrous oxide would become a criminal offence.

Nitrous oxide, sold in metal canisters, is known as laughing gas or NOS and is one of the most-used drugs by UK 16 to 24-year-olds.

Heavy use can lead to a vitamin deficiency that damages nerves in the spinal cord.

West Mercia’s Conservative Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion welcomed the clampdown.

“Locally, I have seen first-hand how easy it is to purchase nitrous oxide, the damage it causes to communities and its impact on public spaces with places often littered with canisters,” he said.

“I lead a Combatting Drugs Partnership in West Mercia to tackle the impact drugs have on communities, so I understand the importance of educating our young people about drug use, intervening with support when substance misuse happens and having strong enforcement in place to give the police the powers they need to take drugs off our streets.

“I would like to thank Mark Garnier MP, who has worked closely with me on toughening legislation and has been a loud and prominent voice on this issue in parliament.

Despite party support, the proposed ban has been opposed by bodies such as the Drug Science Scientific Committee which criticised the ‘completely disproportionate’ proposal.

Steve Rolles, senior policy analyst at the Transform Drug Policy Foundation, said: “The idea that this is a deterrent effect is ridiculous it just criminalises users and will hand control of the product to criminal gangs.

“This is just political theatre – if you need any proof you just need to see that they have ignored their own advisers. This is a particularly ugly example of performative politics.”


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