Police hail drop in anti-social behaviour after legal highs ban
ANTI-SOCIAL behaviour linked to shops selling so-called legal highs has fallen since the substances were banned.
The police say the move to make the substances illegal has been a great success.
Chief Inspector Jim Pegler, who oversees policing in Portsmouth, said anti-social behaviour linked to head shops previously selling new psychoactive substances had reduced.
He said: ‘We’re pleased that these shops are observing the legislation and we have not received any reports to contradict this.’
He added: ‘Since the Psychoactive Substances Act came into force we have seen a considerable reduction in calls that we attribute to people abusing these substances. We will continue to monitor shops in the city and will investigate criminal offences reported to us.’
One shop in Portsmouth that used to sell so-called legal highs is being turned into a beauty salon. Gypsy Kings in Commercial Road, Portsmouth, used to sell products such as Spice before the ban came into force.
Peter Stanley used to run Gypsy Kings and had hoped to turn it into a vape shop, selling e-cigarettes and fluids.
But instead the 44-year-old now plans to reopen it as a beauty salon instead. His Havant shop is still open.
He said: ‘It was never great at anything other than legal highs. It’s in a bad location. We were looking to change it into an e-cigarette shop but because of the location, and there’s two or three of them, in the precinct we didn’t think it would be feasible.’
He added people did come into the shop after the ban expecting to be able to buy legal highs. He believes people who were buying them have returned to other substances.
Mr Stanley said: ‘People always come in and want some of them, they can’t grasp the fact it’s not around any more. They come up to the counter and whisper – but it doesn’t work like that.’
He said neither of his shops sell legal highs and have not done so since the ban.
The National Police Chiefs’ Council revealed yesterday that 308 shops are no longer selling the drugs and 24 head shops have closed down.
So far 186 people have been arrested in the three months after the Psychoactive Substances Act came in.
Producing, supplying or importing legal highs is a crime.