County Durham and Darlington Police and Crime Commissioner Joy Allen is supporting a campaign by the mother of tragic teenager Leah Heyes to toughen the punishment of drug dealers who sell to kids.
The PCC, who is the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners’ (APPC) Joint Lead on Addictions and Substance Misuse, met Kerry Roberts alongside her colleague, Dorset PCC David Sidwick, and pledged to back her efforts for a change in law to heighten the repercussions for dealers who prey on young people under the age of 16 for their drug sales.
Fifteen-year-old Leah Heyes died after taking MDMA in a park in Northallerton, North Yorkshire, in 2019. Two teenagers were later sentenced to young offenders’ institutions for supplying the fatal drug.
Kerry Roberts, with the help of Thirks and Malton MP Kevin Hollinrake, has since launched a campaign to introduce ‘Leah’s Law’ making it a specific offence to supply drugs to a child aged under 16.
The issue was debated by MPs in Parliament last summer after campaigners secured more than 10,000 signatures however the Government has so far rejected calls to introduce a new Bill.
Commissioner Allen and David Sidwick have now written to MP Kevin Hollinrake to offer their full support to his efforts and have offered to meet the MP to discuss how they can assist his work in future.
Commissioner Allen said: “This is a deeply tragic case which has impacted thousands of people across the country, many of them parents who are worried for the safety of their own children. I commend Kerry’s courage in pushing forward these reforms to safeguard the lives of other teenagers in future.
“Urgent action is needed to protect young people and prevent further unnecessary deaths on our streets. Drugs are a scourge across society, and we must not allow the despicable criminals to take more innocent victims away from their families.
“For this reason, we offer our full support to the introduction of Leah’s Law and look forward to working with Mr Hollinrake to raise the case for this important reform. We need to do everything we can to address the selling of gateway drugs to children.
The perpetrators of these crimes must be made to understand that there are severe and life-changing consequences to their activities to deter further crimes and stop other families from suffering.”
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