“I use the example of cannabis; if it’s under the prescribed amount and they are a first or second-time user depending on their age they can get diverted off.”
WA Police officers can currently choose to divert users found with less than 10 grams of marijuana on them away from court and into Cannabis Intervention Sessions.
“Simply accumulating possession-type offending and putting them back before the courts without education and rehabilitation, I don’t think is the complete answer,” Mr Dawson said.
The Commissioner stopped short of calling it decriminalisation but Professor Steve Allsop from the National Drug Institute said that’s what it was – and said he supported the policy change.
“This is an important step to take; the evidence tells us we will see an increase in the number of people going into treatment and an increase in successful treatment outcomes,” he said.
Police have been working with the Health Department for more than 12 months on how to make the changes.
The policy change would not need to pass through parliament.
Opposition Leader Liza Harvey said the change equated to police giving up in the war against drugs.
Ms Harvey will use the issue in her bid to become premier, declaring a Liberal government would repeal a meth diversion.
“Everyone knows, we’ve all seen them; meth addicts are unpredictable,” she said.
“I don’t think they are appropriate candidates for diversion.”