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Saturday, 15 December, 2001, 14:23 GMT
Debate over police chief's drugs call
The controversial views of North Wales chief constable Richard Brunstrom - whose police authority has backed his suggestion that a Royal Commission should investigate all options in the war against drugs - are meeting a mixed response.

Mr Brunstrom has provoked renewed debate on the issue of illicit drugs after saying policymakers should look at the possibility of legalising some or even all of them.

Gareth Thomas, Labour MP for Clwyd West, said he wondered what sort of signal was being sent to the community when the chief constable thought aloud in this way.

Gareth Thomas, MP for Clwyd West
Gareth Thomas, MP for Clwyd West

Meanwhile, an MEP who supports his view has been arrested by police during a pro-cannabis demonstration.

Liberal Democrat MEP Chris Davies was detained by police during a protest outside Stockport police station in Manchester in support of man who tried to set up a Dutch-style cannabis cafe in the city.

Mr Davies, who represents northwest England, turned himself in when he was in possession of a small quantity of the illegal drug.

He said he had never used illegal drugs, but expressed support for Mr Brunstrom's stance.

He said: "I think it is very appropriate we are standing outside a police station the day after the Chief Constable of North Wales Police called for the legalisation of all drugs."

Mr Brunstrom has been at pains to deny he is making an outright call for illicit drugs to be legalised.

Cannabis cigarette being rolled
MEP arrested at pro-cannabis demo

He maintains police resources are not winning the so-called war on drugs and that a Royal Commission should look at all the options available in a re-think of drugs policy, and that should include legalisation.

But MP Garteth Thomas said he wondered what suggestions the chief constable had, in view of the fact that an international UN convention outlawed drugs and insisted on criminal penalties on those who supplied them

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC Wales' Robert Thomas and Penny Roberts report
"His ideas are seen as a way of making life easier for the police rather than the public."
Richard Brunstrom Chief Constable North Wales Police
"Drugs are freely available in our country."
Richard Brunstrom, North Wales Police
"Control of availability simply isn't working"
See also:

09 Nov 01 | UK Politics
Drugs war failing, MPs warn
05 Jul 01 | Health
Cannabis 'not medical panacea'
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