Lincolnshire Police welcome ban on legal highs

A ban on legal highs came into force at midnight. ANL-160526-080146001
A ban on legal highs came into force at midnight. ANL-160526-080146001
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A ban on legal highs, which came into force at midnight across the UK, has been welcomed by Lincolnshire Police.

Laws criminalising the production, supply and importation of these potentially dangerous drugs known as new psychoactive substances now mean offenders could face face up to seven years in prison.

This new legislation will give us extra powers to shut down shops and UK-based websites which trade in legal highs. We will be able to work more effectively and support our enforcement partners to get these dangerous products off the streets

Ian Newell, Business and Public Protection Manager at Lincolnshire Trading Standards,

Sold under names such as spice and black mamba, legal highs are designed to give users the same effect as drugs such as cannabis and cocaine.

Last year they were linked to more than 100 deaths in the UK and a rise in violent assaults in prison.

Lincolnshire Police say a great deal of work has already taken place in Lincoln to tackle the use of these substances, not least of all the implementation of a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) in April last year, which banned people from taking these substances in the city centre.

This order will remain in Lincoln because using psychoactive substances in public is not an offence under the Act. In addition, the two ‘head shops’ in Lincoln which had sold legal highs have now closed.

Police, City of Lincoln Council and Lincolnshire County and the Council have been working closely to see legal highs tackled in Lincolnshire and the new Act has been welcomed by all involved. The new law will be enforced by police, Trading Standards officers, Border Force and the National Crime Agency.

Insp Pat Coates, of Lincolnshire Police, said: “I’m incredibly pleased we now have legislation in place that will allow us to tackle legal highs at the root by taking on the people who are putting them into the public arena.

“We will take action where they find people committing these offences. Punishments range from a prohibition notice, which is a formal warning, to seven years in prison.

“We’ve been very clear that the PSPO in Lincoln was not put in place to punish those taking legal highs, for many the substances may be part of a lifestyle rather than anything more sinister, but rather to offer individuals help to try and move away from them and to stop some of the negative behaviour that was taking place on our streets. Our hands had been tied because the legislation was not in place to tackle the production and supply of these substances but now that it is a criminal offence we really hope it will make even more of a difference.

“I would like to reiterate how dangerous these substances are. They are untested and the long-term health effects not known. Please do not take them in any form, they simply are not safe. For anyone who continues to take them I would like to urge you to talk to us – we can get you the help you need to try and find a path that no longer relies on substances and by telling us who supplies them to you we can make sure nobody else finds themselves in the same situation.

“As we have in the past, we are carrying out a number of enforcement activities today to raise awareness and these will be ongoing.”

Ian Newell, Business and Public Protection Manager at Lincolnshire Trading Standards, said: “This new legislation will give us extra powers to shut down shops and UK-based websites which trade in legal highs. We will be able to work more effectively and support our enforcement partners to get these dangerous products off the streets.”

Ian Newell, Business and Public Protection Manager at Lincolnshire Trading Standards, said: “This new legislation will give us extra powers to shut down shops and UK-based websites which trade in legal highs. We will be able to work more effectively and support our enforcement partners to get these dangerous products off the streets.”