Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Is the World Going Mad? Episode No 94


This is Richard Brunstrom. He is Chief Constable of North Wales. He's also quite barking mad. On his days off he likes to go catching speeding motorists 'for fun'. His latest wheeze is to sanction plans for a vending machine outside Colwyn Bay Police Station, which will dispense needles to drug addicts. He also wants to provide a steel bin for used needles. The scheme will be paid for by the Welsh Assembly (actually, it's the poor bloody UK taxpayer who will be footing the bill as usual). Why don't they just go the whole hog and provide free shots of heroin too?

58 comments:

no longer anonymous said...

The most depressing thing is that nothing will be done about this cretin. A proper government would quickly give him the boot. Or empower the people to do it.

Andrew Woodman said...

Elected police chiefs is the answer to hideous idiots like him. He would be lucky to get 100 votes.

Alan said...

It would be nice to live in a world where people dont use drugs but they do. This is merely the police maintaining public saftey by providing a secure disposal point and hopefully reducing the chance of HIV infection.
So long as he is planning on spending time on cracking down on the local dealers too I dont see the problem with this approach

ian said...

Yes. Why not, indeed?

Heroin addiction -> theft, burglary, etc. By prescribing heroin, we could reduce huge amounts of other crime.

To your main point. Would you rather have addicts sharing needles, contracting hepatitis and HIV, etc, and dumping the needles in playgrounds and parks?

Anonymous said...

Brunstrom is a loud-mouthed looney. I have followed his progress through the police service since listening to him speak at a conference in 1999 and he has shown the same headline-seeking tendencies in every post.

Verity said...

Money's better spent apprehending offenders against society and banging them up. Let the druggies attend to their own health.

Parlicoot said...

As a (genuine) Colwyn Bay resident I can confidently say that its a great idea.

The quicker we supply drugs along with the needles the better. Benefits include:

- Fantastic drop in local crime rate.

- Police able to keep track of all addicts.

- Dealers put out of business.

- Nasty needles kept away from children.

There's the added benefit of later on, when all drug takers are using the new service, of upping the quality to a fatal dose: rapid increase in the IQ of the local population.

It could become a model across the whole country.

Think of it as evolution in action.

Welsh Spin said...

Ian,

Isn't it bad enought that there are drug addicts in Colwyn Bay? Do you really want them to contract HIV too? Would that save the taxpayer money?

Besides which, their MP might find it a bit dodgy to wander arond hisw constiuency wearing his £6,000 Rolex

Ross F said...

North Wales Police are possibly the most ridiculous force in Britain (Nottinghamshire are a close second), they're the ones who keep making ludicrous fishing expeditions to try and catch people who are guilty of Taffophobia, the Prime Minister was questioned by them over his "fucking Welsh" comment a Daily Mail journalist was sent a letter about some anti-Welsh comments made on Question Time, despite the fact that she hadn't been on the programme.

They've also acquired from the Sun, the nickname "The Traffic Taleban" for over zealous persecution of motorists.

All in all this is sane in comparison to their other exploits.

Mattd said...

To be honest I have no problem with this idea.

As Alan pointed out people will shoot heroin whether we approve of it or not. Why not help to cut the HIV and hepatitis infection rate? Should we force these people to use dirty needles? They are going to shoot up whether we approve or not!

If they are willing to accept needle help from the authorities who says the next step is not to accept help in recovery and getting themselves clean.

To demonise a Chief Constable just because he has an idea that may be slightly radical or liberal is shooting oneself in the foot. He has an idea that may actually have a real effect on addicts and is not just paying lip service to the idea. Locking these people up probably would not help. Why not try the alternative. Just once!

The Morningstar said...

This is a simple needle exchange, every person who contracts hepatitis or AIDs/HIV forces a huge drain on NHS resources in both the cost of drugs and care in a hospital.

If addicts can exchange needles they are less likely to dump used ones and that may remove the danger to non drug users from needles left where ever drug users go to get their fix.

I can think of worse things he has suggested.

Parlicoot said...

Ross F said... "They've also acquired from the Sun, the nickname "The Traffic Taleban" for over zealous persecution of motorists."

We welcome all contributions to the local economy from our visitors. The police even kindly publish where and when the "Arrive Alive" speed trap vans are in our area, just so that we all know :)

Marquee Mark said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Verity said...

mattd - Awwww! Let's help the addicts before we help the taxpayers! Their self-indulgence means everything to us! Let's spend years "rehabilitating" criminals rather than giving them a good thrashing and telling them if they come back, they'll get three times the lashings.

God knows, drug addicts are the most important people on the planet and every other social consideration should take second place to catering to their fecklessness.

I have a better idea for this police chief/moron (actually this phrase itself is becoming an oxymoron, sadly) - start protecting the taxpaying citizenry and let the druggies take care of themselves. Arrest them. Bang them up. Forget therapy programmes. Getting over drugs is about the same as getting over smoking. Big deal.

How did these people get elevated over the rest of society? Not through their own efforts, that's for sure. Through do-gooder programmes run by lefty, destructive know-it-alls and financed by people who were being robbed in their homes and their streets by thugs wanting to buy drugs.

Marquee Mark said...

Iain, think you are being a bit of Bufton-Tufton on this one. It is a public health issue - the issue should be "is it effective?" Does it stop others being exposed to the undoubted harm of discarded needles?

There needs to be less knee-jerk reaction and more creative thinking on drugs. I have never done any drugs. However, some people will always succumb to it's "attraction" - and sometimes are driven to it for reasons which we would never want to have to face. We just have to look out for these people until they either get off the stuff, or die. And if that means giving them free shots, of a quality that is medically supervised, through a proper registry, maybe that is the way to go. In the meantime, scare people shitless about the squalid nature of the half-life most of these addicts lead.

Oh, and pull all our forces out of Iraq and send a sufficient force into Afghanistan that is properly equipped to go into the poppy growing areas and sow enough salt to ensure that nothing will grow in them for a hundred generations. That would soon stop the flow of the evil, illegal alternative supply. It would scupper the funding of the Taleban too. Sometimes we are just too squeamish about doing what has to be done.

I am with you on the TopCop though. He is an embarrassment. He needs to rememeber that policing is about carrying that great bulk of the population on his patch who eschew crime - and not about constant surveillance to ensure no-one does 31 in a 30 zone.

scroblene said...

Morning Iain,

Verity said…

‘Money's better spent apprehending offenders against society and banging them up. Let the druggies attend to their own health’.

Spot on. Perhaps we could also have a plain-clothes copper who can go behind the pub where all the meagre but personal belongings stolen from me and Mrs S., are being flogged, and pay a few quid (which I’ll gladly give him), so we can get ‘em all back.

If I go down there, I’ll be arrested on suspicion of ‘trying to be reasonable’.

vlad_the_impala aka seeking exit strategies said...

You forgot to mention he is a Druid, just completing the picture of a well-rounded personality. We have a family ban on trips to Wales, having been fined and lost points for doing 74 in a 70 mph zone on an empty road. The Chief Druid was probably was holding the speed gun. Please, oh please, when the revolution comes can we reintroduce the police to activities such as investigating and prosecuting real crimes against real people?

AllBloodyTaken said...

mattd said: "...Locking these people up probably would not help..."

Yes it would. It would mean safer streets due to a massive drop in all forms of crime and in the long run would be a bloody sight more economically cost effective.

Johnny Norfolk said...

A product of New labour

David said...

I well remember this moron had 'likes the power' as a reason for him liking his job in a Q adn A on the official North Wales Police website...says it all really. And of course his daughter gets off speeding raps unlike the rest of us.

See what he says in his blog:

"In Colwyn Bay Nimbyism has resulted in pressure amounting almost to blackmail on the local chemists, such that all have withdrawn from the scheme. The needle exchange bus has been subject of demonstrations which have descended into violence from the protestors, requiring police attendance. There is a very nasty streak of intolerance in the area, much of it led or orchestrated by a handful of local representatives.

The result is that there is no effective needle exchange scheme in Colwyn Bay, an area that needs it badly. So I am attempting to provide one, despite the Nimbys. "

How tolerant and how nice that he treats his public with such disdain! It is not public misgivings or the democratic will of the people that concerns him...

The website has removed the Q and A as well - wonder why?

Simplisi said...

Mattd,
Well summed up. I'm sure most people are unaware that needle exchange goes on across the whole of the UK and is essential.

griswold said...

This initiative illustrates the morphing of our Police Force into a branch of the Social Welfare Department. Examples of this abound in all police forces. How and why has this happened? I suppose we can find parrallels in the education system. Teachers don't teach they act as social workers for the children of dysfunctional parents. Come back Miss Jean Brodie. Come back Dixon.

Chris said...

Didn't some senisble Tory MP write a book about legalisation of all drugs - and a very good idea too.
Prohibition never works!

Paul said...

I can't help but think this is preferable to needle-sharing or finding discarded sharps in public areas.

Read Brunstrom's, rather logical, justification:

http://www.north-wales.police.uk/nwp/public/en/blogs/viewblog.asp?UID=1&CID=43

david kendrick said...

He honestly says what he thinks. 'There is no side on the man'.

I'd prefer him to have picked up an unsolved crimes file on his days off. It would actually assist him in the management of his force, by seeing at a detailed operational level what was going right, and what was not working.

To pillory a man for his honesty is not to my taste.

mirthios said...

I'm not a legal beagle, so can someone help, please?

Question 1 - Is 'shooting' heroin a legal or an illegal activity?

Question 2 - If it is illegal, then isn't supplying the equipment being an accessory before the fact?

Question 3 - If the answer to Question 2 is "Yes", then Brunstrom should be so charged, surely?

Or are the police above the Law?

Blogfan said...

Illegal or not people can get drugs if they want them. Why not dispense them outside the nick too?
Hope all this equipment will have bilingual signage as is the norm in Wales.

old benjamin said...

Just as worrying, the Police Authority, which includes elected councillors of course, must be satisfied with their Chief's strange sense of purpose. One wonders whether the Force's rank and file are content too? CCs can be ejected from their posts; it's just happened in the Devon & Cornwall Force, where Maria Wallace was ditched for losing the rank and file's confidence (and that of the Authority).

Carlos Tevez said...

The policeman sounds like a good guy.

Catching speeding motorists means that the law is enforced. If you don't like being caught speeding, don't speed. Or vote for a political party that will abolish the speed limits.

As for the needles, I'm suprised you take such a view Iain. The cost of the needles is minimal but the cost of treating a scumbag who's injected themselves with HIV is a lot higher. And the cost of treating a child who picks up a needle found outside their front door is a lot higher. Needle exchanges work, even if the state aiding drug takers is not so appealing, but the state treats many with self-inflicted problems from alcoholics, the obese. And the police can watch the dopers from their office window and monitor them.

Erasmus said...

That'll make Colwyn Bay nick a nice friendly place for the non-smackhead community, won't it?

Haven't enough coastal towns have been ruined by turning them into junkie service centres?

Oh and why not use all this taxpayers cash to fund the rehab facilities that actually get people off drugs?

Actually I know the answer to that one: It's because maintaining a growing population of drug addicts creates more job opportunities for parasites like Brunstrom.

In Like Flynn said...

Iain, I have to agree with most of the comments on this post, and refute your claims about Richard Brunstrom. Whilst i know nothing about the man himself, I would actually support his latest 'wheeze'.

Needle exchange in North Wales has been shown to be extremely successful over a significant period of time.

It is important that the provision of sterile injecting equipment is not made synonymous with drug misuse. The client group may be the same, but the objectives are quite different.

Needle exchange gives us the ability to prevent serious disease in a group which is itself (temporarily) unable to do so.

PJ said...

I too have no problem with the idea of giving needles away, to reduce HIV or other infection. Think how much a free needle costs (pennies), and conversely how much it goes to treat someone with AIDS or another ghastly disease (tens of thousands per year).

We need to eliminate English taxpayer funding for the Welsh language, though.

AnyonebutBlair said...

The issue is more complex than some of these comments, should you provide support structures for drug addicts outside rehab i.e. free needles and safe disposal or make access to such drugs equipment more difficult. Providing needles will not reduce associated crime or put dealers out of business, the addicts will still need to resort to crime to pay for the heroin in their now "free" needles. On balance, we should make life difficult for drug addicts/criminals and not provide needles. This may cause some ancilliary HIV infection, but the addict may already be infected and lives a lifestyle that makes them prone to HIV/Hepititis. Their addiction will be linked to a criminal lifestyle and we should not make it easier for them. Heaven forbid, Brundstrom could try arresting them and perhaps the DPP prosecuting them for their crimes? Isn't that the role of the police. Whatever next, will they be handing out condoms to women so that they can't get pregnant if they are raped. Its basically the same logic.

no longer anonymous said...

"Should we force these people to use dirty needles?"

Yes, it might teach them a lesson.

Besides, I'm sure taxpayers wouldn't want their money spent on this.

For the record I actually favour total drug legalisation. But this use of public money is unacceptable.

cawlach said...

Gadwch lonydd i'r Pry Cop, ma'r dyn yn gwneud yn iawn ac yn bendat dyw e' ddim yn ddyn twp.
Culni sydd wrth wraidd y peth. Dynion Llundain yn methu derbyn fod modd i rywyn fod yn llwyddianus ac yn ddyfeisgfar draw yma yn y gorllewin 'gwyllt' Ma nhw'n disgwyl i ni eu dilyn nhw ym mhob peth ac yn mynd yn grac iawn pan dy ni'n arwain i gyfeiriad arall. Mae dynion Llundain yn mynd yn fwy plwyfol bob dydd.

UK Daily Pundit said...

In a recent post on the North Wales Police blogs, the Deputy Chief Constable showed the high regard he has for his boss, Chief Constable Brunstrom:

"Leaving Brunstrom to man the bridge over the weekend, I took the Missus up to the Lake District for a long weekend."

North Wales Police blogs

Cinnamon said...

The bins will prevent those infected needles from hanging around where others can be injured by them.

As for giving junkies heroin -- please do. It is cheaper and more pleaseant to pay tax than to get burglared or mugged.

Besides that, you cannot stop the drrug 'business' from happening, so, the state should take the monopoly on in and remove the large revenue for assorted mafias that stem from it (and OUR homes and cars)

Meanwhile, the people who need heroin to die in dignity instead of a rage of agony screams have their relatives go out on the street to score, because you can get a heroin prescription, but can't fill it in the pharmacies.

It's a mad mad world!

(and please DO research heroin a little bit, you'll see that beneath the hype, there is no big deal at all. Heroin addicts on a legal supply can function normally and hold down jobs and have families, what creates the problem is the impurities mixed in by the gangsters, and that the mafias in the UK have a billion pound market, which then feeds back into Islamist pockets (since the stuff comes from Afghanistan).

F0ul said...

The reason that this idea is wrong is because the man who supports it is not being consistent. He supports the poor heroin user, but hounds the general motorist. How can he justify it?

Maybe because it gets him in the paper? - he seems to be the Tony Blair of Policing!

machiavelli said...

Iain - you've hit on a great policy proposal there, although of course with methodone available on prescription I'm not sure how much more of an impact it would make.
You're right though, the man's a whole victoria sponge short of a picnic - he declared not so long ago that speeding was as bad as murder.

Neil Craig said...

"Let's help the addicts before we help the taxpayers!"

Whatever the other arguments against I think it is certain that handing out needles costs far less than treating hepititas etc. Of course we could decide that the NHS shouldn't treat anybody responsible for their condition like drug users, smokers, those of us who don't exercise ... ?

Anonymous said...

I agree with ian and cinnamon.

Of course if we did start allowing cheap generic heroin to be freely available it is likely it would increase the number of addicts. So is that too high a price? I would say certainly not.

Also I think it's a matter of philosophy. Personally I'd rather live in a society that allowed choice and valued personal responsibility. You might differ from this and prefer a nanny state. In which case I expect you're pretty happy with Tony.

no longer anonymous said...

"Of course we could decide that the NHS shouldn't treat anybody responsible for their condition like drug users, smokers, those of us who don't exercise ... ?"

Sounds like a good idea, although smokers fund the NHS through taxation on cigarettes so I'd let them off.

Peter Hitchens said...

This tosser was actually caught speeding twice by a newspaper although i dont think he ticketed himself.
I agree with what he is doing, and believe that drugs should be legalised , as nasty as they are and as stupids as those who take them are (I used to) they are a fact of life , contol elps prohibition doesnt , you can say the same about firearms.

Ross Parker said...

Okay, he's a nut, but what exactly is your argument against clean needles? Or your argument against having a place to put them that isn't dumping them in a kid's front garden?

Elipsis said...

I've never understood why Tories are keen on prohibition - smacks of the Nanny to me.

Verity said...

I don't care whether drugs are legalised or not. As long as they're not legal, the police shouldn't be poncing around facilitating their "safe" use.

What's wrong with letting drug addicts die out? Where does it say in the NHS charter, if there is such a thing, that the taxpayer is responsible for self-inflicted damage? If they get AIDS, they get it. So what?

Giving up drugs is no worse than giving up a 60-cigarette a day habit. All this fuss about checking in to clinics, etc is just to add drama to the lives of inadequate people. In fact, one famous drug addict whose name I don't remember because I really don't care, actually said he had a harder time giving up cigarettes than heroin. Why has the West elevated drug taking into some special, arcane problem?

vervet said...

Quote: Carlos Tevez ... "If you don't like being caught speeding, don't speed."

And of course you, Carlos, have never, never, ever exceeded the speed limit, have you ?

Never been distracted for a moment, and drifted above the limit.

Never strayed a little beyond, just to make sure that you overtake a little more quickly, and perhaps more safely.

Never had to accelerate above it to avoid a risky situation.

B*llocks - if you drive then you have exceeded the limit at some times, just like we all have. If you don't drive then you don't understand the scenarios I have described above, and should not comment.

Self-righteous comments like yours irritate me hugely.

With regard to speed cameras, Brunstrom's idiotic quasi-religious fervour for their use is totally disproportionate to the problem of excessive speed, which (contrary to whatever you may have been spun) is the DIRECT cause of less than 5% of all accidents.

His excessive reliance on them draws focus, and finance, away from solving other significant transport and crime problems.

antisophist said...

Prohibition doesn't work, never has, just pushes up prices (and so crime). Free heroin's an excellent idea, together with needles and education - funded by reduced costs due to lower crime.

With your views, Iain, am v surprised your not shortlisted for a safe blue-rinse on sea seat.

AnyonebutBlair said...

Re Speed Cameras...a family friend is a very senior copper, and no way would ho go on record with this but I know he believes...that the number of fatalities and serious accidents increasing in some areas on the road is statistically correlated to the introduction and spread of speed cameras...is it that as the police have broadly withdrawn from policing the roads (leaving it to the cheaper Gatsos) that the roads are now more dangerous, as people only change their driving behaviour near speed cameras, elsewhere they have little chance of being caught. But that goes against government policy and would be a thought crime if held by a deputy chief constable who values his pension

Dark Dagger (The Mugg) said...

The North Wales police blogs make you put your postcode in before you can comment!

The Bonobo said...

Parlicoot said: "There's the added benefit of later on, when all drug takers are using the new service, of upping the quality to a fatal dose: rapid increase in the IQ of the local population."

You leaving the area would achieve that end more effectively you tosser.

You think you're funny, Parlicoot, don't you? We'll see if you're still laughing when your picture is - hopefully - circulated round the Colwyn Bay dealership fraternity.

I'm disappointed in you Iain, but pleasantly surprised by the posts of some of your more enlightened readers.

Cinnamon is spot on. His/her post brings to mind a HedWeb article called "When is the best time to take crack cocaine?". Authored by an English professor of psychopharmacology, it addresses the way the UK medical establishment with-holds - on spurious ethical grounds - painkillers from terminally ill cancer patients (for example).

The prof sums his piece up with the fine sentiment: "...one is conceived in pleasure and may reasonably hope to die in it." Nice.

Anonymous said...

Brunstrom is my local cheif copper and he is even more barking daft than you think...you shoul dread the Evening Leader for Flintshire.

This is the same man, BTW, that parked his caravan illegally with car and then went off his head when he was criticised, just after introducing the UK's most draconian traffic regime.

Anything you say about this idiot wouldn't be unbelievable, especially to those who have to live with his policies.

the void said...

"The reason that this idea is wrong is because the man who supports it is not being consistent. He supports the poor heroin user, but hounds the general motorist. How can he justify it?"

speeding motorists kill children

heroin addicts shoplift from department stores

as a parent i iknow which i prefer

Anonymous said...

Erm, Mrs Thatcher introduced the first needle exchanges in 1986/87.

AC said...

Interesting all these comments calling for 'free heroin'. Would people have to prove that they are already addicted, or could anyone pop along and give it a try? It would be difficult to 'police' this.
The case has been stated within the comments here that people can get by in life perfectly well using a pure form of heroin. That being the case won't even more people be tempted to give it a go? Especially as its the case that if you lower the price of a particular item then consumption of that item will increase. Is that what we want?
I am in favour of legalising all drugs on ideological grounds(although not firmly commited to this viewpoint, in light of some evidence of the consequences), but providing them for free - madness!

AC

Andrew K said...

I am a North Wales resident. My irritation at my ticket for doing 37 in a 30 zone on my motorcycle was slightly mitigated by the knowledge that on the same journey I had been doing 110 in a 70 zone and hadn't seen hide or hair of a proper traffic police patrol.

Machiavelli's Understudy said...

Well why not go the whole hog and dish out heroin for free? It'd be cheaper than having the abusers in a situation where they're stealing to purchase it instead.

People have a bizarre notion of how life has been since and before 1971.

Saint J said...

Don't joke. In Australia, our state government in all their wisdom does provide free heroin. With "Legalised injecting rooms". Sound absurd? Try telling them that. I mean, who would you prefer buying your daily smack from, a Che Guevara t-shirt wearing, tree hugging, multiple pierced, unwashed person, or a clean shaven bureaucrat, speaking warm platitudes of a better life, marginalisation and depressed human areas?