One of Britain's most senior police
officers has joined the legalization chorus. Chief Superintendent Anthony
Wills, borough commander of Hammersmith and Fulham in London, called for the
government to take over the drug trade since it cannot stop it.
In an interview with the Hammersmith and
Shephards Bush Gazette last week, Wills said even hard drugs, such as crack
cocaine and heroin, should be legalized. "I would have no problems with
decriminalizing drugs full stop," said Mr. Wills. "There have to be very
stringent measures over the production and supply of drugs, and we have got
to remove the drug market from criminals. I do not want people to take
drugs, but if they are going to, I want them to take them safely, with a
degree of purity and in a controlled way."
Wills repeated his insistence that he was
not promoting drug use. "I am not saying people should take drugs. They are
very bad for you, but the reality of the world we live in is this: If people
want to get drugs, they can get them. Drugs are a fact of life, and you
cannot eradicate them," Wills said. "My only concern is to increase the
safety of the community and not to allow these ghastly people to make a
fortune out of other people's misery."
Wills, a 30-year veteran who commands more
than 2,000 officers, said that no matter how harsh drug laws are, they are
doomed to failure. "There are some places where people are beheaded if they
sell drugs, but even this does not stop the trade."
And enforcing the cannabis laws is a waste
of police resources, Wills added. "I am very liberal in relation to
possession of drugs," he said. "Policing cannabis is a waste of our time, as
I do not feel the effects of cannabis are any worse than over-consumption of
Wills may have joined the growing number
of high police and government officials who have gone off the reservation on
drug policy, but the Blair government remains steadfast. "All controlled
drugs are harmful and will remain illegal," the Home Office noted tersely in
response to Wills' remarks. "The Government's drug strategy focuses on the
most dangerous drugs as the misery they cause cannot be underestimated. We
have not seen the interview and so cannot comment on it."