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October 2007
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Legalise all drugs — Chief constable demands end to ‘immoral’ laws

The front page article in today’s Independent (UK) is going to stir things up a bit (Transform has a picture of the cover and will have more coverage).

One of Britain’s most senior police officers is to call for all drugs — including heroin and cocaine — to be legalised and urges the Government to declare an end to the “failed” war on illegal narcotics.
Richard Brunstrom, the Chief Constable of North Wales, advocates an end to UK drug policy based on “prohibition”. His comments come as the Home Office this week ends the process of gathering expert advice looking at the next 10 years of strategy.
In his radical analysis, which he will present to the North Wales Police Authority today, Mr Brunstrom points out that illegal drugs are now cheaper and more plentiful than ever before.
The number of users has soared while drug-related crime is rising with narcotics now supporting a worldwide business empire second only in value to oil. “If policy on drugs is in future to be pragmatic not moralistic, driven by ethics not dogma, then the current prohibitionist stance will have to be swept away as both unworkable and immoral, to be replaced with an evidence-based unified system (specifically including tobacco and alcohol) aimed at minimisation of harms to society,” he will say. […]
the 30-page report, entitled Drugs Policy — a radical look ahead, includes a number of persuasive voices. Today Mr Brunstrom will urge his colleagues to submit the paper to Westminster and the Welsh Assembly. […]
He argues that prohibition has created a crisis in the criminal justice system, destabilised producer countries and undermined human rights worldwide. By pursuing a policy of legalisation and regulation, he concludes, the Government will “dramatically reduce drug-related criminality and will enable significant funds to be transferred from law enforcement to harm reduction and treatment procedures that are known to work.”

Unfortunately, most of the political establishment is unable to even coherently address the points made by such proposals and simply rejects them out of hand. But eventually we’ll reach a point where that rejection will cost them, and in the meantime, articles like this Independent cover will educate some more people.
Update: North Wales Police Authority endorses report

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