A FORMER chief constable calling for drugs to be legalised will sound shocking.

The suggestion that class A drugs such as heroin and cocaine should be decriminalised sounds contrary to the views we expect to hear, particularly from law enforcement officials.

While the headline is shocking, Paul Whitehouse’s arguments are not the views of a madman or liberal hippie.

He is a man with first-hand experience of the daily drugs problems Sussex faces.

We live in an area with a grim track record for drugs.

Every day in Brighton and Hove drugs are being used in the open. Children find needles in their school playgrounds.

Every day we witness the effects of drugs through our courts. A huge proportion of burglaries, muggings and violent assaults are committed by those hooked on drugs.

Offenders who go through revolving doors of law enforcement The city’s long reputation as a drug death capital hammers home the message that this is a health problem as much as a criminal justice one.

It is an undeniable fact that drugs like heroin have a knock-on effect, causing more crime.

In the cold light of day, this senior policeman’s views might present a reasoned and practical answer. This is a serious ongoing problem that seems to affect Brighton and needs a radical solution.

So while his views might sound radical, perhaps they are more reasoned.

As he points out, it wasn’t that many years ago that the thought of legalising homosexuality or abortion seemed radical.