Police boss in call on drug addicts

Times Series: A police chief constable visited Copenhagen to study how the Danes deal with heroin addicts as part of a BBC documentary A police chief constable visited Copenhagen to study how the Danes deal with heroin addicts as part of a BBC documentary

A police chief in favour of decriminalising class A drugs has repeated his call for reform of how addiction is treated.

Mike Barton, Chief Constable of Durham Police, visited Copenhagen to study how the Danes deal with heroin addicts as part of a BBC documentary.

It follows a newspaper article he wrote in September, demanding a new approach that would remove remove dealers' profit by allowing the NHS or a similar organisation to supply heroin to addicts.

According to the BBC, during the Inside Out programme to be shown in the North East this evening, Mr Barton said: "I have thrown the kitchen sink at drug dealing and drug taking for 34 years and it's not getting any better, in fact it's getting worse and I'm saying, let's have that honest debate.

"What I'm saying is, let's take the money out of the business."

A spokesman for Durham Police explained the chief's involvement in the documentary.

"Mr Barton's views on how we deal with drug addiction are well-known, not least from the article he wrote for The Observer newspaper in September outlining his belief that a new approach was needed," he said.

"He was subsequently approached by the BBC who asked if he would like to take part in an edition of Inside Out looking at the issue from a variety of perspectives.

"This includes a visit to Copenhagen to see the measures adopted by the authorities in Denmark.

"The Chief Constable feels very strongly that our current methods are simply not working and it makes sense to continue the debate so that alternatives can be explored.

"This is not about being soft on drugs, it's about being sensible."

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