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Recreational Ecstasy Use OK, Says Top London Cop

Author: Jonty Adderley
Sunday, November 25, 2001
Senior London cops this week called for radical drug law reforms including downgrading ecstasy from Class A to Class B with one suggesting arresting people for ecstasy possession was a "waste of time".

Speaking before a government enquiry on drugs, Commander Brian Paddick who controls policing in Brixton, was unusually realistic in his assessment of London's drug culture.

"There are a whole range of people who buy drugs, not just cannabis but even cocaine and ecstasy who buy these drugs with money they have legitimately earned," he said.

"They use a small amount of these drugs, a lot of them just at weekends. It has no adverse effect on the rest of the people they are with, either in terms of who they socialise with, or within the wider community and they go back to work on Monday morning and are unaffected for the rest of the week."

Telling the committee that such offenders are already a low priority for him personally, Commander Paddick also came out against sending police into night clubs and raves.

"If I felt my officers were going into nightclubs looking for people who were in possession of ecstasy, then I would say to them- and I would say publicly- that they were wasting police resources."

Though the Commander was later rebuked by Scotland Yard, his views remain on the conservative side compared to many other authorities across Europe, such as Spain.

This week, Spain's Supreme Court proposed to increase maximum personal drugs allowances to effectively legalise low level dealing (having already effectively decriminalised personal possession of all drugs).

"The idea behind this greater leniency is to protect individuals of diminished resources who are compelled by circumstances, or by drug mafias, to transport small quantities of narcotics," Ibiza Online reported this week.

If the new Spanish laws are passed, individuals will be allowed to possess up to 2.5 kilos of cannabis and 750 grams of cocaine.