NORTHUMBRIA Police and Crime Commissioner Kim McGuinness wants to focus on tackling the issues that lead people to behave in abusive ways, especially concerning domestic violence. I hope she gets to evaluate the effect of drugs on behaviour.

When I had to discipline staff who showed unnatural aggression toward colleagues, I was in the fortunate position to insist on a drugs test, being in an industry that required strict alcohol and drug restrictions.

In each case this led to dismissal as it confirmed that smoking herbal cannabis (marijuana, ‘weed’, ‘pot’, ‘dope’), or its resin derivative ‘hash’ was the likely cause of such behaviour.

Most cannabis available now is super strength ‘skunk’. This has increased potency as it contains more of the psychoactive ingredient tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), with evidence that there is greater risk of psychotic illness, including paranoia, schizophrenia or bipolar disorder to those who are vulnerable to the effects of this drug. This is recorded as a cause of many acts of violence.

Legalising cannabis without the detail as to how to regulate it is likely to increase consumption and present a greater risk of mental health issues in the community, especially for younger people.

Home Office policy is clear.

Drugs such as cannabis are illegal because scientific and medical evidence demonstrates they are harmful.