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Last Updated: Tuesday, 5 August, 2003, 20:41 GMT 21:41 UK
Police chief attacks critics
Richard Brunstrom
Chief Constable Richard Brunstrom: tabloid media target
Police chief Richard Brunstrom has hit back at "unpleasant" attacks on him over his alleged obsession with catching speeding drivers.

In a robust interview on the BBC's Wales Today programme, he also repeated his call to make prescription heroin available to addicts.

The North Wales chief constable said: "If we can give heroin away, which is perfectly possible (as) it can be done legally in this country now to people who need it, it would be cheaper and we would significantly reduce the crime rate."

Mr Brunstrom has previously called for the decriminalisation of drugs, including heroin and cocaine, on the grounds that addicts turn to crime to pay for illegal drugs to feed their habit.

At a meeting of the Police Federation in May 2002, he told the 700 delegates of the 128,000-strong organisation, that all drugs, including heroin and cocaine, should be decriminalised.

Only 30 officers at the Bournemouth conference backed him, but Mr Brunstrom has continued to press for a Royal commission on the legalisation of drugs.

In his interview on Tuesday on BBC Wales, he referred to the drugs problem and official policy on drugs as having: "A grave danger of destroying British society as we know it."

Heroin addict
Drugs "may destroy" British society, said police chief
He also hit out at attacks on him for his force's police on detecting and catching speeding drivers.

He said there was: "A quite unpleasant thread running through some of the national media and some of the interest groups pursuing an obsessional and irrational scheme to discredit the government's National Safety Camera project."

He added: "They're not going to succeed."

Mr Brunstrom has recently faced tabloid newspaper attacks pillorying him as possibly the worst policeman in Britain and asking readers to give their views.

Attacks on him were heightened recently when he described a pensioner who had been caught in a camera speed trap as being guilty of "anti-social behaviour" and comparing him with a 17-year-old yob."

Further criticism of his alleged "obsession" with speeding, to the detriment of fighting crime in other areas, came the day after at a meeting of the North Wales Police Authority, in Colwyn Bay.

Mr Brunstrom revealed new figures which showed the worse burglary detection rates yet with only 6% of burglaries solved in April.

He told the authority the figures were no more than a statistical "blip."

In his BBC Wales Today interview, Mr Brunstron made no apologies for his hard line on speeding.

He said: "It is against the law and there is no excuse for drifting over the limit any more than there is for drifting a knife into someone."




SEE ALSO:
Police reject easing drug laws
14 May 02  |  UK News
Demand for extra street police
06 Jun 03  |  North East Wales


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