City mayor slams police chief’s plan to give free heroin to criminals

Convicted criminals in Middlesbrough will soon be provided with free heroin on the NHS after a scheme was launched by the region’s police.

Barry Coppinger, Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for Cleveland, the country’s only failing police force, wants to introduce a scheme to allow career criminals the chance to inject themselves three times a day.

Critics say it is wrong for Coppinger, who will step down next year, to reward criminals with free drugs.

Undermining efforts

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen accused Coppinger of “actively undermining efforts to tackle drug addiction”.

He said it was “not right” for the PCC to “make the Cleveland force area a guinea pig for an experimental new drugs policy when he won’t even be around to face its consequences”.

He added: “I’m sure most right-thinking people would rather see the hundreds of thousands of pounds he is squandering on this spent on getting the basics right”.


Arfon Jones, the PCC for North Wales is also set to trial a controversial drugs policy, with those caught in possession of drugs no longer facing automatic prosecution.

While users will be offered a place on a ‘narcotics education and rehabilitation scheme’, Jones wants to see all drugs legalised and regulated.

Jones claimed most police forces do not enforce the law and so there is “de facto decriminalisation” already.

He also wants the Welsh Assembly to set up drug consumption rooms where addicts can take drugs without fear of arrest.

Related Resources