EMILY Walker’s exclusive interview with former Sussex chief constable Paul Whitehouse should certainly warm the hearts of some key players in a debate that, a number of them disappointedly contend, has yet to take off in the country.

Tottenham MP David Lammy is one such proponent of the kind of radical rethinking advocated by Mr Whitehouse in his call for decriminalisation of cannabis, cocaine and heroin.

Like Caroline Lucas, Mr Lammy is acutely aware of the price paid by his constituents as a result of the maintenance of the status quo.

As he sees and eloquently describes it, the knife and gun crime blighting communities in London and other conurbations is not being driven by track-suited youths, but rather by a sophisticated network of veteran organised criminals.

His startling and encyclopaedic evocation of McMafia Britain, echoing Mr Whitehouse’s reservations about the failures of prohibition, reveals ruthless exploitation of young people, some no more than 12 years of age, who are armed to the teeth before being sent out to fight turf wars and, increasingly, to being pimped to run drugs, cash and guns across “county lines” to the home counties and market towns in order to establish satellite gang operations.

No doubt, like Caroline Lucas, Mr Lammy will welcome The Argus’s important contribution to a national debate that should surely desirably be held sooner rather than later.

Stephen Williams Foxhill Peacehaven