Humberside police force has among highest charge rates for cannabis possession, according to Home Office data
A quarter of people caught with cannabis in Humberside last year were charged – among the highest rates in England and Wales.
Campaigners say enforcement of the law dictating cannabis use is a “postcode lottery” and have called for possession of the drug to be decriminalised altogether.
Home Office data shows that of 1,078 cannabis possession offences closed by Humberside Police last year, 280 resulted in a charge or summons.
At 26%, that was one of the highest charge rates of the 43 police forces across the two nations. That excludes a further seven offences that had not yet been assigned an outcome.
Across England and Wales, there were 117,000 cannabis possession offences recorded in 2020 that had reached an outcome.
The most common type of outcome recorded by Humberside Police last year was an informal out of court disposal, which accounted for 583 offences. The majority of these were warnings, while the rest took the form of community resolutions, which could involve an apology and some form of reparation.
In 2019-20, a new outcome was introduced to reflect when an offender is sent on a diversion scheme, such as a drug awareness course or treatment.
Humberside Police recorded using this type of scheme on 22 occasions last year, while across all police forces it was used around 2,300 times.
Niamh Eastwood, executive director of drugs charity Release, said young people are disproportionately criminalised for having the drug, limiting their education and work opportunities.
A Home Office spokeswoman said: “We have no plans to decriminalise cannabis – there is clear scientific and medical evidence that it is a harmful drug which can damage people’s mental and physical health, and harms individuals and communities.
“The police have a range of powers at their disposal to deal with drug-related offences in a way that is proportionate, and in the public interest.”