Less than one month to go for Psychoactive Substances Bill (14 Mar 2016)

With less than a month to go before legislation changes to target those who produce and distribute psychoactive substances, West Yorkshire Police are continuing to promote the change, and highlight the danger of these potentially lethal substances.

From early April it will be illegal to produce, supply, offer to supply, possess with intent to supply, import or export psychoactive substances.

The new legislation will target those who presently sell these potentially lethal substances and provides the police with greater powers to take action against those who produce or supply them.

The Force has produced a number of short videos that aim to answer some questions that people may have, as well as a video targeted at those presently producing and or distributing psychoactive substances, advising them of the change in legislation. These videos will be launched online and social media in early April.

Bryan Dent, Force Drugs Coordinator said; "The change in legislation will affect all retailers, and guidance is being issued nationally and locally to those thought to be intentionally, and unknowingly selling psychoactive substances. Certain items will be exempt from the act, however it will be an offence to supply, or offer to supply psychoactive substances and the police will be able to stop and search people, vehicles as well as premises and not only seize but also destroy psychoactive substances. We are trying to ensure that all retail outlets- shops, garages, market stalls and internet suppliers are aware of their obligations under the act and that their organisations or business are not selling or in any other way dealing in psychoactive substances.

Bryan added; "Psychoactive substances mimic the effect of controlled drugs and are not safe to take. They are rather unhelpfully often referred to as "legal highs" which leads people to think that if they are legal, they must also be safe. This couldn't be further from the truth, and sadly we have incidents where people have ended up seriously ill in hospital, and sadly also some deaths following on from people taking these substances. We are utilising a number of methods, along with our partners to educate both users and suppliers in an effort to avoid retailers falling foul of the new law and at the same time making West Yorkshire a safer place to be including making people feel safer within West Yorkshire communities.

"I welcome the changes to the legislation which creates a blanket ban in the UK, and hope this goes some way in reducing the availability of these often dangerous substances to users. We will also be running a web chat on the March 24, where the public can log on to ask questions about the changes, but also if they have any questions around psychoactive substances."

Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for West Yorkshire Mark Burns Williamson, who has previously called for the existing laws to be tightened up to reflect the rapidly changing problem facing communities with more psychoactive substances constantly introduced into the market, said: "West Yorkshire Police has been at the forefront of leading the way with partners in tackling this growing problem, for example we had the first successful prosecution of its kind in the country in Leeds, but I want retailers to know about the human impact and their moral responsibility to stop selling these drugs which can devastate families and the lives of those that use them.

"It is testament to our partnership and innovative working that West Yorkshire Police have been praised for helping keep these substances off our streets and now it will be an offence to supply, or offer to supply psychoactive substances and I am pleased that police will soon have greater powers to ensure those breaking the law are dealt with severely in trying to lessen the very harmful wider impact."

For more information on psychoactive substances please visit http://www.westyorkshire.police.uk/illegalhighs  

© Copyright West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner 2019