Rt Hon Lord Lilley

    Mr. Peter Lilley (Hitchin and Harpenden): I agree with the Home Secretary that royal commissions are just a way of playing issues into the long grass–appropriate, perhaps, for cannabis. Does the Home Secretary accept that the issue is becoming urgent? When statutes and penalties that are on the statute book are not being applied on the streets, that brings the law, the police force and, ultimately, this place into disrepute. Should not these matters be brought into line sooner rather than later?

    Mr. Blunkett: I liked the joke. I noticed in an article in a newspaper for which I normally have a great deal of time that what is an experiment has been dubbed “chaotic policy”. We need to monitor, and we need the police to use discretion without there being a feeling that the whole policy is unravelling. That is part of a sane and sensible debate. Credibility in terms of prioritisation of the use of police time and resources has to be applied on the ground, and it is, day in, day out; not just in terms of wider substance abuse, but in the way in which local communities are policed. Since taking office, I have heard

    2 Jul 2001 : Column 17

    Oral

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