Inquiry into drugs act

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A "long overdue" inquiry into the effectiveness of the 1971 Misuse of Drugs Act was announced yesterday by an independent research charity.

The Police Foundation study will be carried out by a committee that will include Simon Jenkins, former editor of The Times, and leading lawyers, academics and police officers expert in drugs law.

They are expected to focus on whether the law needs to be changed in the light of a growing drugs culture and the Government's commitment to tackle drug-related crime.

Viscountess Runciman, (pictured) the committee's chairman, who also heads the Mental Health Commission, said the purpose was not to pave the way for the gradual decriminalisation of drugs.