Brent’s top cop warns khat users they face a £60 fine from June 24

Chief Superintendent Michael Gallagher is the new borough commander

Chief Superintendent Michael Gallagher is the new borough commander - Credit: Archant

This week I wanted to start by letting you know of some changes to the law. The Government has made khat an illegal Class C drug. The ban on khat will come into effect on June 24.

Khat contains natural ingredients which are already controlled drugs both in the UK and internationally because they are harmful. To help protect local communities from the potential health and social harms associated with khat it will become illegal to produce, possess, supply and import or export khat without a Home Office license.

From June 24 police will be able to issue to adults khat warnings and penalty notices for disorder (PND) which carry a £60 fine. This means that if the police find you with khat which is meant for your own personal use, you can: be given a warning on the first occasion, be given a fine for your second and face arrest for your third possession offence.

Brent Council undertook substantial research into khat in the community in 2011.

I have asked my officers to enforce the new law but to be proportionate. Officers will take into account the nature of the offence and its severity, using a tiered approach towards offences relating to possession.

This week my officers were commended by the public order command for there excellent response to a spontaneous outbreak of disorder between rival groups of German fans in the vicinity of Wembley Stadium on the morning of the 2013 Champions League final.

These officers are Inspector Neil Kentish, Sergeant Matthew Heavens, PC Julien Ellis, PC Simon Dowley, PC Peter Luciano, PC Daryl Asprey, PC Kerryn Pearse and PC James Sanderson. The immediate actions of Inspector Kentish and his team suppressed what could have been a serious outbreak of violence.

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Disorder at Wembley Stadium is very rare. I want to assure you that my officers will be brave and decisive when confronted with serious violence anywhere. I believe this type work by some of Brent’s finest is one example that is worthy of bringing to your attention.

Last week, I was present for the Brent Mayor Making Ceremony when Councillor Kana Naheerathan was formally announced as the new Mayor of Brent.

We all wish the new Mayor well in his Mayoral year and I would like to take the opportunity to sincerely thank the outgoing Mayor, Councillor Bobby Thomas, for his excellent support of his local police over the last 12 months.