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Border identification checks 'could cut' Isle of Man drug crime

image captionA new border agency is due to be in place by April 2021

Identification checks at the "porous" Manx border could help to tackle a rise in drug-related crime, Home Affairs Minister Graham Cregeen said.

He told Tywnald an increase in the importation of drugs was a "scourge on the safety" of the island.

Moves are under way to establish a border force which could include checks on those arriving, he added.

There was a 6.8% increase in drug crime over the past year on the island, along with a 49% rise in serious assaults.

In his annual report, which was debated by politicians on Tuesday, Chief Constable Gary Roberts said many assaults were linked to the illegal drug trade.

Daphne Caine said a "radical shift in policy" was needed to combat the "lucrative drugs market".

The island's parliament should "consider decriminalising" cannabis to "remove the criminal element from the ever-increasing market", she said.

"It's time for a rethink for a proportionate, pragmatic response to an issue that's getting worse under the current policies," she added.

image captionDrug offences rose by 6.8% between April 2019 and March 2020

Mr Cregeen said creating a border force would "ensure more effective measures are in place to protect the island from organised crime and address the increase in drug imports".

The agency is due to come into force in April 2021.

During the debate, Mrs Caine also called for access to medicinal cannabis to be permitted, arguing that those who currently used the drug to treat several conditions risked being criminalised.

Campaigners staged a protest outside the Tynwald buildings on Tuesday, calling for more progress on changing the island's laws on medicinal cannabis.

Mr Cregeen said plans to create a regulatory framework to allow for the cultivation and manufacture of medicinal cannabis on the island were being worked on by the Departments of Enterprise and Health, along with the Cabinet Office.

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Related Topics

  • Drug use
  • Drugs trade
  • Cannabis
  • Medical cannabis

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