The Metropolitan Police has failed to tackle drug users brazenly smoking cannabis in London’s Hyde Park.
Thousands turned up in central London as part of the annual 420 rally held on 20 April – which calls on the Government to legalise the Class B drug.
They were warned by police before the event that officers would be present and enforcing drugs legislation, but while many were pictured smoking in broad daylight, not a single arrest was made.
Cannabis is a Class B drug which carries a maximum sentence of five years and an unlimited fine, but many police forces rarely arrest users.
In 2015 there were over 50 arrests at the event, which dropped to 19 in 2016, and then again to just 12 last year.
One man said at this year’s event: “I’m not that bothered about being arrested. The police will just take it off us – and we’ve got more anyway.”
Metropolitan Police was criticised for its inaction, but a spokesman defended the Force’s approach, saying its lenient stance meant the rally ‘passed without incident’ and that it was “no different from any other day”.
New figures show the police and courts are taking a relaxed approach to enforcing drug laws, with the number of proven offenders falling by a quarter in two years.
A third of those convicted were fined, and only a fifth jailed. The majority of cases were dealt with outside of court, with most receiving either a warning or caution.