Police Urge Radical Shift on Drugs 

Police Urge Radical Shift on Drugs 
Posted by FoM on November 20, 2001 at 12:53:20 PT
Staff and Agencies
Source: Guardian Unlimited
Senior police officers clashed sharply with the home secretary, David Blunkett, today when they called for a radical shift on drug policy. Addressing a Commons home affairs select committee, they publicly advocated that ecstasy should be downgraded to a class B drug and backed the creation of "shooting galleries" where addicts could legally inject heroin. 
Metropolitan Police commander Brian Paddick, who has overseen the six-month experiment in Brixton, south London, where cannabis users are being let off with a caution, said arresting people for possession of ecstasy was a "waste of valuable police resources" and that attention should be directed at more harmful drugs. Mr Blunkett made clear, however, when he announced his intention to downgrade cannabis to a class C drug, that he was not prepared to shift ground on ecstasy.Chief police officers would support ecstasy being downgraded from a class A drug to class B, if medical and scientific evidence recommended it, the Metropolitan police deputy assistant commissioner, Andy Hayman, told the committee. "There seems to be medical and scientific evidence that puts it alongside other amphetamines," he said.Such a move could "make a stronger statement" about the dangers of class A drugs, Mr Hayman told MPs, who are examining the government's existing drug laws. The reclassification would take the dance culture drug out of the same group as heroin and crack cocaine, placing it instead alongside barbiturates and amphetamines. Committee chairman Chris Mullin raised the idea of so-called "shooting galleries" based on a German system, which offers addicts clean needles and health advice, and ensures that contaminated needles were not left in the street. He defined the facilities as "licensed premises where heroin can be taken without fear of arrest". Mr Hayman, also chairman of the Association of Chief Police Officers drugs committee, confirmed: "If the medical authorities say it is worthwhile and they can be controlled in a way that people are happy with, then clearly from ACPO's perspective they would support it, because it would reduce the tensions in the community and the erosion of the community." He agreed it would involve police "turning a blind eye" to the use of class A drugs, but drew a comparison with Amsterdam's safe areas for prostitution, which seemed to have been a success. Chief superintendent Kevin Morris, president of the Superintendents' Association, said he would also support "shooting galleries" if they operated under "carefully controlled conditions". He also called for a proper debate on decriminalisation of cannabis. Danny Kushlick, director of drug reform group Transform, commented: "Today signals the end of prohibition in the UK. "The further calls for decriminalisation and legalisation of cannabis from police representatives show that the will exists for operational change. "What is glaring now is the lack of political courage in government to admit that prohibition has failed."Source: Guardian Unlimited, The (UK)Published: Tuesday November 20, 2001 Copyright: 2001 Guardian Newspapers LimitedContact: letters Articles & Web Site:Transform Body Says Punishment Does Not Stop Use Advised To Legalise Cannabis Cafes Has Much To Learn from Britain's Law
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Comment #1 posted by SirReal on November 20, 2001 at 22:37:41 PT
Can I but a vowel....O! My God
How long will it take for this common sense to drip westward?
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