IPCC Complaint – Acting Detective Chief Inspector Bob Chapman of South Yorkshire Police
I wish to make a complaint against Acting Detective Inspector Bob Chapman of South Yorkshire Police concerning statements made by him and published in The Star newspaper on 29th October 2011. The article in question is available online here: http://www.thestar.co.uk/community/drugs_crackdown_15_arrests_and_50k_of_drugs_seized_in_sheffield_1_3919511
I make the complaint on my own account but also in my capacity as the Leader of Cannabis Law Reform (CLEAR), a UK political party, of P.O.Box 674, Salfords, Redhill, RH1 9BN. Thousands of the members of CLEAR need cannabis as medicine to treat conditions such as MS, Crohn’s disease, fibromyalgia and spinal injury. For the purposes of correspondence, please contact me via email.
As published in The Star, Acting DCI Chapman said: “The strength of some of the skunk cannabis on sale is, in my opinion, of a strength comparable to Class A rather than Class B drugs.”
This is a false, nonsensical and misleading statement which attempts to deceive the public:
a) that the A/DCI has some specific scientific knowledge about the “strength” of “skunk cannabis” on sale in Sheffield
b) that there is some meaning or scientific validity in comparing the “strength” of “Class A” and “Class B” drugs
c) that the A/DCI is an expert in the subject and the public can rely on the accuracy and veracity of what he says
d) into fear, consternation and hatred of cannabis users as a social group
In making this statement the A/DCI has acted dishonestly, without integrity, fairness and impartiality. He has abused his authority by making statements which are false, nonsensical and misleading but which, as a senior police officer, he knows that the public will believe without question. He has also acted in a way that discredits the police service and will undermine public confidence.
a) In order to make any such comparison, the A/DCI would need to have results of cannabinoid content analysis of “skunk cannabis” currently on sale in Sheffield. There would also need to be a determination of what “strength” means. Does it relate to THC content alone, to THC ameliorated by CBD or to any of the other hundreds of cannabinoids, flavonoids and terpines present in cannabis?
b) The “class” of a drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 (MoDA) is determined by the degree to which it is likely to cause social harm. Health or individual harms are not within the remit of the MoDA except where they may amount to social harm. In any event, the pharmacology of drugs in “Class A” and “Class B” is not the same and so any comparison is impossible and to suggest it is misleading.
c) The public are likely to be deceived and misled by the A/DCI’s words
d) The public are likely to be alarmed by the A/DCI’s words which are clearly intended to cause fear, consternation and hatred of cannabis users as a social group
I accept that the A/DCI has a duty to uphold the law as it presently stands, It is however entirely improper for him to engage in politics, scaremongering, the promotion of false science and propaganda.
I would be grateful if you would deal with this complaint at your earliest convenience. I shall be happy to provide any further information required or to give oral evidence in support.