New Chief Constable calls for preventative drugs policy

By Blundell

The new Durham Chief Constable, Jo Farrell, has stated that the police ought to “help, not criminalise,” addicted drug users.

Farrell, the first female Chief Constable for Durham, succeeds Mike Barton in the post who served for seven years.

She joined the Durham Constabulary three years ago as a deputy and was interviewed by a panel of senior public figures before securing her new role.

The new Chief Constable has 25 years of experience in the police, with previous posts at the Cambridge Constabulary as well as at Northumbria Police.

Farrell told ITV Tyne Tees: “I’d be on the how do we prevent and help people (side of the debate), rather than them ending up in a cycle of being criminalised because of an addiction.”

Her approach seeks to prioritise a preventative, rather than reactive, approach to policing the issue of drugs.

She told ITV: “Part of our approach is around problem solving, rather than reacting all the time, how do we prevent somebodybeinginharm,atrisk of harm, or how do we prevent them from a victim of crime?”

In looking to revolutionise the approach to drugs, Farrell continues the work of Mike Barton, who called for addicts to be given free heroin in a safe environment and for the legalisation of cannabis.

In his resignation letter, Barton stated that he hoped for: “Sensible conversations about how the approach to controlled drugs is not working.”

He wrote: “It remains a lingering sadness and deep frustration that heroin-assisted treatment for heroin addicts is not de rigueur.”

Barton has recently been named in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list, becoming a Commander of the British Empire for services to policing.

Durham Constabulary has recently been rated outstanding by government inspectors for an unprecedented fourth consecutive year under the leadership of Mike Barton. Farrell that she hopes to secure a fifth year of outstanding ranking.

Photograph by Durham Police

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