Police chief’s drugs stance attacked by MP

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Labour MP Chris Bryant has attacked as “dangerous” views expressed by North Wales Police chief constable Richard Brunstrom that ecstasy is safer than tobacco, alcohol and aspirin.

Mr Brunstrom told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that the scare mongering around ecstasy was not borne out by fact.

“If you look at the government’s own research you will find that ecstasy by comparison to many other substances, legal and illegal, is a comparatively safe substance,” he said.

But Mr Bryant, the openly gay MP for Rhondda in South Wales, attacked the police chief for being obsessed with publicity.

“I think these are very dangerous views,” he said.

“Ecstasy is not a safe drug and the people who sell ecstasy to youngsters in the Rhondda also sell heroin and the whole shooting range of drugs.

“Drugs have been one of the major challenges that the Rhondda has had to face.”

A spokesman for the National Drugs Prevention Alliance told the Daily Mail that Mr Brunstrom should resign, but local councillor and North Wales Police Authority member Terry Renshaw backed the chief constable.

53-year-old Mr Brunstrom was in the national press regularly in 2007.

As well as calling for all drugs to be decriminalised, he was purposely hit with a Tazer gun in September to “feel the effects of being shot with 50,000 volts.”

In May he criticised MPs for trying to keep their expenses secret and last month broke into his own police headquarters to “test the security.”

Brian Paddick, the Liberal Democrat candidate for Mayor of London who was until May 2007 the most senior out policeman in the UK, recently acknowledged the prevalence of drug taking in the capital.

“I think illegal drugs do a lot of harm and people shouldn’t take illegal drugs,” he told the Evening Standard in September.

“The fact is millions of Londoners take drugs, whether they smoke cannabis to unwind in the evening or whether they take ecstasy.”