Ministers’ attempt to ban ‘legal highs’ will end in failure, say police chiefs

CHIEF constables have warned the UK government its policy of banning so-called legal highs is set to fail.

In a submission to the home affairs select committee, police chiefs said making the substances illegal was not the way to tackle the problem. It is claimed they also said they would treat leniently anyone caught with them.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Their submission reportedly said: “From an early stage, the chair of the Association of Chief Police Officers’ drugs committee was of the opinion that the solution to the particular challenge of legal highs did not lie in adding inexorably to the list of illicit substances.”

It went on: “A key question for the government to determine is the extent to which legislation can realistically be used to address active choices being made by (predominantly young) people and to tackle the undoubted harms caused by the misuse of substances taken essentially for pleasure.”

Methoxetamine, or mexxy, is the first drug to be banned under new powers introduced by Home Secretary Theresa May. It will be illegal for up to 12 months while government drugs advisers decide if it should be permanently controlled.