OFFICIAL guidance has said that police should not stop and search people for drugs just because they smell cannabis.

The police watchdog, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary, say that other factors must be considered before a person is stopped and searched for drugs.

The report found that the smell of cannabis did not increase the likelihood of a conviction and should not be grounds to stop a suspect.

This has caused some controversy with police and some senior police have said that they will continue to advise their staff to stop people if they smell the class B drug.

Chief Constable Andy Cooke of Merseyside Police, wrote on Twitter: “Smell of cannabis is sufficient to stop search and I will continue to encourage my officers to use it particularly on those criminals who are engaged in serious and organised crime.”

This report does not mean the law has changed and police can stop a person if they have ‘reasonable grounds’ to suspect they are carrying the drug.

Government statistics say that 6.6 % of 16 to 59 year olds have used cannabis in the last year compared to 16.4% of 16 to 24 year olds.

When asked if they think police should stop and search if they can smell cannabis, the people of Salford had this to say:

“If they can smell it they have a reason to I think.”

“I think there’s much bigger issues in the world than to pull you up on smoking cannabis.”

“They have a right to but at the same time cannabis isn’t such a serious drug.”

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