‘Stop smoking cannabis outside school gates’, parents told

Parents at a primary school in Durham have been told to stop smoking cannabis outside the school’s gates.

Pauline Northcott, head of Dean Bank Primary and Nursery School, made the request in a letter titled ‘Inappropriate behaviour on or around the school premises’.

Critics say it is a result of the ‘soft touch’ drugs policy being used by police in the region. Durham Chief Constable Mike Barton’s has previously said that those unlawfully possessing drugs for supply will be sent on a rehabilitation course instead of going to court.


One parent told The Mail on Sunday: “You would have thought anything around kids or schools, the police would be right on it. But they’re not bothered.”

David Raynes, of the National Drug Prevention Alliance, said the Chief Constable’s ‘soft touch’ policy has “completely normalised the habit”.

“The more people think it is acceptable, the more likely it is that parents will think it is fine to smoke cannabis at the school gates around children.”

Local independent councillor Brian Avery, said: “It’s going on all over the place and a lot of the time right under your nose. I really don’t agree with the soft approach to policing it.”

Class B drug

Ron Hogg, the Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner for County Durham and Darlington, has also repeatedly pushed for a weaker approach to prosecuting cannabis possession.

He previously said cases where the plants are grown for personal use are “unlikely” to be taken to court in his region.

Cannabis is a Class B drug which nationally carries a maximum sentence of five years and an unlimited fine for possession.

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