A retiring senior Scotland Yard officer is at the centre of a row after saying he would have “no problems” decriminalising all drugs.
Chief Superintendent Anthony Wills also said his officers were wasting their time policing cannabis.
The senior officer retired on Friday after six years as borough commander of Hammersmith and Fulham in west London in charge of 2,000 officers.
Mr Wills said he was opposed to drug-taking but accepted people were going to take drugs so they should do so “safely, with a degree of purity and in a controlled way”.
And he said he had a “very liberal” attitude to possession of drugs, equating smoking cannabis with getting drunk.
The remarks are set to fuel the debate over how police deal with drugs and the law surrounding cannabis.
Kevin Morris, president of the chief superintendent’s association said: “It would be extremely naive for anybody to think drugs would be legalised.
“There has been a downgrading of cannabis but not even that has been made legal, it just has a lesser penalty for possession and use.
“I respect any fellow officer’s position on this but I, too, wish people would not take drugs but they do, and society has to set down standards and the police must enforce them.
“The policy on drugs has got to be rehabilitation, education and enforcement.”
A spokesman for Scotland Yard said Mr Wills’ remarks represented his personal views not those of the Metropolitan Police.