Senior Sussex policeman calls for drugs rethink

Chf Supt Graham Bartlett, of Sussex Police Mr Bartlett said drug addiction was not solved by sending people to prison

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A senior policeman in Brighton and Hove has said the government should consider decriminalising personal drug use.

Ch Supt Graham Bartlett, of Sussex Police, said there was a "horrendous drug death problem" in the city that needed to be tackled.

Brighton Pavilion's Green MP Caroline Lucas said she agreed with Mr Bartlett while Hove and Portslade's Tory MP said he wanted a "frank debate".

The Home Office has ruled out liberalising drug laws.

Brighton and Hove has the highest proportion of deaths in the country, with 23.5 people out of every 100,000 aged over 16.

Mr Bartlett said: "Drug dealers and people that traffick drugs belong in prison

'Medical solution'

"However, the use of drugs is a medical problem. We do not solve anybody's addiction to drugs by putting them in prison.

"There has to be a more radical approach."

"We've got a horrendous drug death problem in Brighton and Hove and we need to sort it out and I think a medical solution is the answer to that."

Ms Lucas said: "Everybody agrees that the current approach is not working."

Earlier this month, several high profile figures including Dame Judi Dench and Sting signed an open letter urging Prime Minister David Cameron to consider decriminalising drugs.

The Home Office has said it has "no intention" of liberalising drugs laws.

Mr Weatherley said he saw the arguments for "some form of control through legitimate sources rather than criminal sources."

He added: "The difference between what the Greens are saying is that I'm not prejudging anything. I want a full and frank debate."

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