Woman Police Constable (WPC) Kerry Ann Taylor was raiding a cannabis “factory” back in September 4 2008. In the process of breaking into another person’s house in Devonshire Avenue, Southsea and going through their plants and destroying them, the WPC started to feel a little light headed and groggy – it was claimed that this was down to the cannabis plants themselves – because of this feeling WPC Kerry Ann Taylor decided that she should open a window. Though in the process of opening the window the WPC tripped and put her hand through a window cutting her thumb on broken glass.
This all sounds very much a personal accident and shouldn’t really be brought to the attention of the public, but Kerry Ann Taylor decided she had been forced into a dangerous cannabis “factory” without the relevant protective gloves and was being exposed to “intoxicating fumes”.
WPC Taylor, who still serves with the Hampshire force, sued her Chief Constable; claiming he had breached his duty as her employer by allowing her to be exposed to the intoxicating fumes and failing to provide thick gloves before detailing her to dismantle the cannabis operation. The court came to a decision and decided to award £4,837.14. The damages award was handed out by Judge Blunt after concluding that the Chief Constable was in breach of the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992 and the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002. He did agree however that the WPC’s exposure to cannabis fumes did not cause her accident.
Now that might sound like an end to this whole depressing situation of cannabis being blamed for a clumsy policewoman cutting her finger but the force – headed by Chief Constable Andy Marsh – ran up £145,000 in legal costs taking her to London’s Court of Appeal in April this year trying to overturn the original decision. So now this embarrassing situation has come to a total of £149,837.14 (plus 5 years of wages paid to WPC Taylor since the “incident” occurred). After an expensive day-long hearing the court reserved judgement until a later date in the case of WPC Taylor.
Thats £150,000 wasted because of cannabis being vilified and the Police and public buying into a greedy woman’s lies. There are a lot of reasons why this should not have gone to court – I will not go into how ridiculous it is that a Police officer going into a crime scene shouldn’t be responsible for their own protective gear and actions – but the most irritating reason, why this dismal case went to court when it should not, is cannabis plants are harmless to be around – the scaremongering around cannabis has brought us to the point where cannabis is being used as a scapegoat in high court. In the past 50 years cannabis has been blamed for many horrible things from death by accident to homicides and mental illness with little to no evidence or misrepresentation of figures, but for the police to claim money for doing a job not wanted of them is one of the worst.
I am sure some of you remember this appalling case of lies coming out of the Northamptonshire Police force last year warning that when cannabis plants reach the final stages of maturity the odour they release has carcinogenic properties -“Officers who deal with the plants use ventilation masks and protective suits and people who have plants in their home, especially anyone with young children, may be exposing their family to a health risk.”
After the statement was released there was uproar to the point that at a later date the statement was revoked and the officer offered an apology. Now there is good reason for such uproar as research has actually found that the terpenes, which are responsible for the distinctive smell of cannabis, have in fact cancer fighting agents. Effects of terpenes when ingested include the anti-cancer properties of Limonene. Limonene is currently in trials, to study its ability to prevent breast cancer formation, it is also an anti-depressant and immune-stimulant in humans. The terpenoids that are found in many plants are used extensively for their aromatic qualities. They play a role in traditional herbal remedies and are currently under investigation for many pharmaceutical functions.
Now with all this misunderstanding of cannabis you would be forgiven in thinking that the police have nothing to do with cannabis and this is just simple misunderstanding – but with the police raiding cannabis “factories” everyday and non violent cannabis consumers being jailed it is the polices responsibility to know everything they can about cannabis and its properties and it is a blatant disregard for their responsibilities as protectors of the public and enforcers of the law– it is this lack of thought and job responsibility that has led the Police force to just be the strong arm of weak politicians. We deserve more from our police but fortunately not all fall into the same category. Law Enforcement Against Prohibition UK (or Leap Uk) are a growing group of police officers who have seen enough of the damages caused by prohibition to know that our countries laws need changing.
To check out LEAP UK and show your support check out their website.