North Wales Police Chief Calls For Drugs To Be Made Legal

North Wales’ Chief Constable Richard Brunstrom is calling for the legalisation and regulation of all drugs – and next week will ask North Wales Police Authority to back him.

The region’s top cop reckons existing drug laws are “not fit for purpose”.

“In a nutshell, I’m advocating the repeal of the Misuse of Drugs Act and the consequent legalisation and regulation of all drugs,” says Mr Brunstrom, who describes drugs prohibition as “unworkable and immoral”.

“Central to existing UK drugs policy is the ABC classification system. It is now indefensible both legally and ethically.

“It is arbitrary and subject to politically motivated manipulation. It is a disgrace.”

The Chief Constable has set out his arguments in a detailed report which will go before the Police Authority on Monday. He hopes his document will be adopted as the North Wales response to Government and Assembly Government consultations about future drugs laws in the UK.

Mr Brunstrom says: “UK drug policy for the last several decades has been based upon prohibition, with a list of banned substances placed into three classes – the ABC system – and draconian criminal penalties for the possession or supply of controlled drugs.

“This system has not worked well. Illegal drugs are now in plentiful supply, and have become consistently cheaper in real terms over the years. The number of users has increased dramatically.

“Drug related crime has soared equally dramatically as a direct consequence of the illegality of some drugs, and the huge profits from illegal trading have supported a massive rise in organised criminality.”

Mr Brunstrom wants the Authority to back him in calling for a change in the Misuse of Drugs Act to the Misuse of Substances Act which would include alcohol and nicotine.

He also calls for the Authority to affiliate to the charity Transform Drug Policy Foundation, which campaigns for the repeal of prohibition to be replaced with a legal system of regulation and control.

Yesterday the charity praised Mr Brunstrom for his “great leadership” and warns “those that denounce him should be wary of relying on what Mr Brunstrom calls ‘moralistic dogma’.”

Danny Kushlick, Transform Director said: “We are absolutely delighted at Mr Brunstrom’s paper. The Chief Constable has displayed great leadership and imagination in very publicly calling for a drug policy that replaces the evident failings of prohibition with a legal system of regulation and control for potentially dangerous drugs.”

The current system for classifying harmful drugs “illogically excludes” both alcohol and nicotine says Mr Brunstrom. In fact while alcohol and tobacco cost the NHS £1.6bn each annually, illegal drugs cost the NHS £0.8bn.

Drugs will not go away and if they cannot be eradicated the principal object of public policy has to be reducing as far as possible the harm they can do.

Despite his criticisms about the drugs law, Mr Brunstrom promises “as a police officer I will continue to enforce it to the best of my ability, despite my misgivings about its moral and practical worth.”