On 30th of July Avon and Somerset Constabulary posted a picture to their Facebook page boasting of a “successful Misuse of Drugs Act warrant” being exercised and it didn’t go down too well.
The picture, presumably a still taken from a helmet cam worn by one of the officers due to the image quality, shows three visible officers in full protective riot armour. Stab proof vests, helmets with full face protection and elbow length protective gloves similar to Batman. One of the officers is smashing in the front door with a one man battering ram, several blows must have already been made to the door as you can see circular holes punched through the panels.
The post reads:
Bath officers carried out a successful Misuse of Drugs warrant at a house in Upper Bloomfield Road, Odd Down this morning. A small amount of cannabis resin was seized and drugs equipment found. A 43-year-old woman was given a cannabis warning. Call us on 101 if you’re concerned about drugs activity in your community.
Needless to say, the reaction the disturbing image provoked was high in emotion but probably no match for the terror that the poor 41 year old woman who lives behind that door must have felt.
The picture has found itself shared 194 times at the time of writing this and had 495 comments expressing thoughts on the police forces actions on this supposed “crime”. What we at the UK Cannabis Social Clubs found quite sad is that they posted this image looking for support from the public and to show that they are doing a good job. It could not have gone worse for them.
There was nothing successful about this raid. No one was protected, no victim was saved. There isn’t even a positive outcome for the police. What is the cost of dressing up your officers like storm-troopers for the day, taking out the van, possibly the dogs, filing for the warrant etc etc… seems like a pretty ridiculous amount of work just for a bit of hash only to give out a slip of paper saying “Cannabis Warning”.
Another way of looking at it is a group of men got riled up with adrenaline and used heavy equipment to invade a woman’s home for enjoying herself with plant matter.
We spoke to a representative from the National Organisation for the Reform of Marijuana Laws UK (NORML UK) Women’s Alliance, Michelle Anne X, 49 who uses cannabis medically to treat MS. She knows what it is like to be on the other side of the door in this situation.
“Quite terrifying because you don’t know how they are going to be. They could be nice or they could decide to treat you like some kind of street thug gangster – I’m just a sick person that grew a plant to not be sick though.”
About her cannabis use for MS Michelle said “It’s a feeling like you have no control over your physical capabilities and this is the daily battle of MS. Finding a treatment for that debilitating condition is like a miracle…. to have the police destroy and take away my relief is beyond belief.”
Watch her video statement snippet from Grassroots The Cannabis Revolution documentary about her latest arrest.
She has recently been raided for the second time by Oxfordshire Constabulary for growing her own medicine. The first time she opted for a Crown Court Hearing as she believed she stood a very good chance of getting the case thrown out on the grounds that she had been treated in legal medical cannabis trials successfully. A day before Michelle was due to go to Crown Court an Oxfordshire Police Officer phones her and asked her if she would take a caution for growing over 40 plants.
Here’s the head of Oxfordshire Police saying they have a tight budget and will only investigate real crimes.
Both of these examples raise an important question. What on earth is the point in prosecuting people who use cannabis and why does it matter if they are using it medically or not? And if we aren’t going to prosecute them, why in the green grass of Gloucester are we still executing raids on people for it?
On the 5th of August Liam Smith posted
Is it possible to launch a public formal complaint about this? Seems like a lot of wasted tax money and time that could of been used to police real matters? Or is this an attempt to show you guys want more people to sign the goverment petition to legalise and regulate cannabis to prevent more wasted money and time?
Another post by Steve Clements said
“The war on drugs destroying people’s lives and the reputation of the police, well done Avon and Somerset constabulary, even more communities destroyed by your actions, congratulations”.
But they were two of the kinder ones. It’s a shame – but what do you expect when it’s an issue people feel so passionately about?
If the police want to use Facebook as a tool for building public relations they should stop demonising cannabis consumers on their page for a start, and if they want to extend that to their entire philosophy of policing that would be also do everyone a favour. Drug laws as they stand are one of the main key drivers in causing bad police/public relations and even independent police reports have highlighted this to them.
For the best information on how to deal with the police in a stop and search situation read Releases Y- STOP card and other great leaflets on your rights and the law.
– The Sensible Cannabis Consumer