West Midlands cannabis possession arrests rise by 40 per cent

The number of people caught red-handed with cannabis has shot up by more than 40 per cent during the past 12 months, new figures have revealed.

West Midlands cannabis possession arrests rise by 40 per cent

A total of 2,327 people were arrested for cannabis possession in the West Midlands in 2015 - up from 1,618 in the previous year.

Exactly 13,000 have been held by the force since 2011, according to the statistics revealed by a Freedom of Information request.

The overall trend has been downward, with 3,620 arrests in 2011 to 1,618 in 2014 - before the rise in 2015.

Councillor Bob Lloyd, who sits on Sandwell Council's health and adult social care scrutiny board, said it is positive that the numbers have been falling since 2011.

However, he said education about drugs needs to be improved to combat the problems even further.

Councillor Lloyd said: "I think it's obvious from a health point of that we need to find out why people take these things - why the feel the need to use them.

"You hear some horror stories now about people with homegrown stuff from cannabis farms.

"In Sandwell the council has recently launched a campaign with children from RSA Academy with the message that there are serious health risks with these things.

"You don't know exactly why it has gone up in the last year - maybe there has been more of a crackdown on these sort of drugs."

The figures also reveal the total number of possession of cannabis offences and people proceeded against for possession of cannabis from 2011.

There were 6,416 in 2011 and fell ever year to 3,315 in 2015.

Wayne Little, station commander at Tipton Community Fire Station, issued a warning about the risks of cannabis factories when launching a anti-cannabis campaign earlier this month.

He said: "So-called cannabis factories pose huge risks to those involved, their innocent neighbours and the emergency services.

"It's often the case that the criminals bypass the power supply, make unsafe structural alterations, and then fill the premises with cultivation equipment that uses huge amounts of power.

"The danger of fire breaking out and then spreading to neighbouring houses is very real.

"We want those involved in cannabis production to think again, and those with information to come forward."

Anyone who suspects neighbours of illegally growing and supplying cannabis should call police on 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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