Police have been officially advised to use their discretion in deciding how to enforce the ban that comes into force on Tuesday on qat, a mild herbal stimulant, that has been widely used in Britain's Somali, Yemeni and Ethiopian communities.Really? The same police that always bleat that they have no discretion and must investigate every little spat on FaceBook, with predictable results?
… Acpo guidelines on the qat possession for personal use show that enforcing the ban will throw up some unique challenges for officers on patrol. They make clear that while any police officer can issue a qat warning or a fixed penalty notice they need to be or find an officer who is an expert in identifying the herb and who can do so without any doubt before a warning or a fine can be issued.You … you have to be kidding me. Surely?
The Acpo guidelines also make clear that there is little the officer can do if somebody caught in possession of qat simply decides to start chewing the evidence: "If the individual merely has a mouthful of what is suspected to be qat, it will not be permissible to issue a sanction, even with an admission without additional evidence, because the chewed pulp will not be readily identifiable."So to escape punishment for illegally chewing a herbal substance, you can chew that herbal substance right in front of the police…!