Legal highs have been a big talking point in the UK of late and it seems as though there is a growing level of focus being placed on this form of activity. Councils and authorities across the United Kingdom are stepping up their opposition to legal highs and you can expect there to be a greater level of focus on this behaviour.

The city council of Exeter is taking steps to ban people from taking legal highs in open areas within the city centre. This ban would come under the terms proposed in the Public Spaces Protection Order, which is being introduced in an attempt to clamp down on anti-social behaviour. It is believed that the PSPO will be introduced to the entire city centre area and could impact on The Quay, Bull Meadow, Bury Meadow and parts of St Thomas.

While a lot of focus will fall on the impact on legal highs, there will also be a focus on:

  • Drinking
  • Public urination
  • Begging
  • Encampments

There will also be a focus on anti-social groups. It is not as though there aren’t existing laws in place which the police could use to crack down on these behaviours. Even the breach of the peace law could be cited if people were being unruly or affecting others but it seems as though law-makers find it easier to draft new laws rather than asking the authorities to do their job with the laws that already exist. The new PSPP will replace Section 30 Dispersal Order and the current Designated Public Paces Order, DPPO. With these existing laws, there will be complaints that there is no need to draft in new laws but it seems as though this is something that Exeter City Council is keen to push through.

The Police and Local Councils Want More Support Against these Crimes

The argument for the new PSPO has been put forward by the police and the local council. They say that have had to log over 200 incidents of anti-social behaviour in the past year. This seems like a lot but over the course of a year, and given the broad range of activities that can be classed as being anti-social, it isn’t necessarily that high a figure. This sort of activity ranges from behaviour like drug dealing, fighting and urinating in shop fronts all the way down to “generally causing a disturbance”.

This is a form of behaviour that can be labelled against virtually anyone and there needs to be a level of concern when people are being pulled up in an official capacity for this sort of crime. By all means go after people who are dealing drugs and urinating in public but to suggest that people who may be drunk and slightly boisterous are on the same level is a very dangerous road to go down.

It may be that people who come under the PSPO banner could all be viewed in a similar way, which means that some people will be much more harshly treated than others. Some of the behaviour that will come under this remit could see people lose their job or be placed onto a register, so there needs to be a separation between the different behaviours.

People need to be Aware of the Impact of Legal Highs

Yes, taking a legal high can be a dangerous act and it is important that people understand the risks of this form of behaviour. However, there is no way is this activity comparable to drug dealing and it seems wrong that the new form of legislation is being brought in to treat all of these different forms of behaviour in the same manner.

The new legislation provides the opportunity for officers to confiscate alcohol and legal highs, which means that surely legal highs will need to be renamed. There is definitely a level of ignorance about these substances and you can see why many people believe that they are safe to take. After all, the name legal implies that it has been tested and then approved, so if they are going to land people in trouble with the authorities, there needs to be a greater level of focus on this style of activity.

When it comes to dealing with the police on the matter of legal highs, there is a need to seek professional and expert help. If you have any issues on this matter, calling in an experienced defence solicitor will provide you with the support and guidance you need in order to be represented in the best possible manner.

Andrew Reilly is a freelance writer with a focus on news stories and consumer interest articles. He has been writing professionally for 9 years but has been writing for as long as he can care to remember. When Andrew isn’t sat behind a laptop or researching a story, he will be found watching a gig or a game of football.