A former police chief who was dubbed the ‘cannabis commander’ for his relaxed attitude to tackling drugs has been made a Liberal Democrat peer.
Brian Paddick instructed his police officers in South London not to arrest or charge people found with cannabis, in the early 2000s.
At the time one youth worker criticised the policy, saying it was turning children into “stoned, imbecilic illiterate criminals”.
Mr Paddick, who twice ran unsuccessfully for Mayor of London, has also been praised by Nick Clegg for his early support for redefining marriage.
He is joint president of LGBT+ Lib Dems and in 2010 spoke about the issue of same-sex marriage at the Liberal Democrats’ conference.
And he was at one time the most senior openly homosexual police officer in the UK.
On his appointment to the House of Lords, Mr Paddick said: “I am dedicated to the Liberal Democrat fight to give everyone the chance to succeed.
“I have always been non-conformist though, so I am not giving in to Peer pressure!”
The controversial Lambeth drugs policy he was behind was investigated by the London Evening Standard newspaper in 2002.
It heard of children as young as 10 smoking cannabis, and quoted community workers expressing deep concern about the programme.
Dr Clare Gerada, a GP, said: “The kids, and we are talking 10-and 11-year-olds in some cases, are smoking this stuff and collapsing into a stupor.”
She added: “As a health professional I find it terrifying.”
Another local commented that the experiment was “madness”, while a church minister said parents were feeling “undermined”.
Cannabis was later downgraded to a class C drug across the country, but following disastrous results it was restored to class B status.