City to ban public ‘legal high’ use


Published: Tuesday 24th February 2015 by The News Editor

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A city could become the first place in the country to ban the taking of legal highs in public.

The City of Lincoln Council plans to bar people using new psychoactive substances (NPS) – more commonly known as legal highs – in the city centre.

In a report prepared for councillors, Lincoln was said to be “well known across the Midlands for having a ready and cheap supply of these substances”, and the issue was causing “major concern” to police and the local authority.

It said as a result, the historic cathedral city of Lincoln was now having to cope with the effects of “legal high tourism”.

The report highlighted the presence of three city shops which had been selling the substances, attracting “significant attention” and leading to “numerous” police actions.

Currently in the UK, the sale of such drugs is not against the law with decisions on whether such products can be sold made on a case-by-case basis.

However, under a plan going to a council vote later today, the taking of these legal highs would be banned within a public area of the city with police able to seize any prohibited substance – including alcohol.

The order would not cover private property.

Councillors will be deciding whether to put in place a new public space protection order (PSPO), which are replacing designated public place orders, introduced by the Government to help councils tackle anti-social behaviour.

Although a council motion, Lincolnshire Police would help enforce the order, and the measure has the full backing of the force.

Anyone found breaking the rules would be committing a criminal office and could be handed a fixed penalty notice or a court-imposed fine.

If passed, the new order – which is currently recommended to be approved by councillors – could be in place by April.

Sam Barstow, the council’s public protection and anti social behaviour manager, said: “The main difference between the existing powers and this new proposal is that it gives us the ability to tackle on-street alcohol consumption and the use of so-called legal highs.

“This new power gives the police and council the ability to deal with issues associated with the on-street consumption of these substances in a more flexible way and we will be working with Lincolnshire Police to produce an enforcement plan to support the order.”

Council leader Ric Metcalfe said: “The council has recognised there is a problem relating to street drinking and the use of new psychoactive substances (NPS) and welcomes the reform of anti-social behaviour powers, which has allowed us to be creative and adapt to emerging issues impacting the city.”

He added: “We want our city centre to be a safe and welcoming place for residents and visitors alike.”

In September 2014 the Local Government Association, representing 400 councils across the country, called for a change in UK law and the introduction of a prohibition on selling legal highs.

Last year, the Home Office said two so-called legal highs linked to deaths across Europe are set to be banned.

Published: Tuesday 24th February 2015 by The News Editor

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