Small amount of cannabis 'arrests for a small amount of cannabis are a waste of time and money' written on to some joints. with the words

Small amount of cannabis 'arrests for a small amount of cannabis are a waste of time and money' written on to some joints. with the words

By Richard Shrubb

Dorset Police are looking to hire a new Deputy Chief Constable.

Here’s an interview question we would love to ask them: “Given the cost pressures on the police service, would you deem it appropriate to spend several thousands of pounds on the prosecution of a person with four joints worth of cannabis?

A 4 joint bust?

Logo of Dorset Police

Want to get paid a large sum of cash to chase after people with a tiny amount of cannabis?

The right-wing (and wrong thinking) Dorset Echo gleefully reported on the 14th June, “Karl Michael Farrant, aged 24 and of Lenthey Close, Sherborne, had 1.3g of cannabis in his possession when officers looked at his belongings at Ashmead Road Police Centre in Keynsham, Somerset, on November 16, 2019.”

1.3 grammes of weed. Holy Moly – around 4 joints worth! You’d think that this was a County Lines bust with a kilo of heroin found in a disabled guy’s flat who had been ‘cockooed’ by some dodgy London drugs gang or something wouldn’t you?

This wasn’t Dorset Police admittedly. Poor old Karl Farrant was in Keynsham when he was caught and therefore it was Avon and Somerset Police (which polices the greater Bristol area). That makes us even more worried at the bust given the million-odd souls that live in the Bristol area which isn’t exactly crime free!

Cost of bringing crime to court

There are no figures available immediately to hand where it comes to bringing a case to trial, even as simple as this. Let’s break the process down and show you (roughly) where the costs are:

  1. A policeman/woman will escort the person to be booked in at the custody suite, taking them effectively off duty for a number of hours. Given that police routinely complain that they are run off their arses and unable to attend to serious crime thanks to the shortage of manpower, this could prevent said policeman from attending to a serious domestic violence incident or assault while in the queue booking the person in.
  2. Even on a quiet evening custody staff will be used looking after the welfare of the person while in custody.
  3. A defence solicitor will have been used to advise Farrant as to the next move at the public’s expense.
  4. A CPS lawyer (even on civil service pay which isn’t exactly huge) will be consulted as to whether the case has legs and whether to prosecute. That’s not cheap.
  5. Farrant was likely bailed and told to attend the Magistrates Court.
  6. Given it was an open and shut case he will have used minimal time in the court but courts aren’t cheap to run.
  7. Was Farrant on a decent private income? If he was he could well be on the dole now as a criminal offence can get you fired. If he was on the dole already there will be costs in administering his repayments – set at £72.

The £72 Farrant was fined won’t come close to covering the costs of prosecuting him. All for less than a £10 bag of weed.

Hardly the crime of the Century is it?

There are decent uses of police time. If the riot squad had been sent into Durdle Door to clear the masses of idiots on the beach shortly after lockdown, I’d have happily cheered them on. There are big poverty-related crime issues in urban centres like Weymouth and Bournemouth. Sort out the drunken wife beaters!

As to potentially ruining some poor guy’s life over four joints of weed? Future Deputy Chief Constable of Dorset Police, sir or madam, there are far better things to focus your resources into!

Richard Shrubb

Richard is a marijuana, water sports and electric vehicles writer based in Dorchester, Dorset. Living in Prince Charles model housing estate, Poundbury, he is an avowed republican, community and Labour Party activist. Visit his website at for more about what he does.

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