TOP cop Pauline Clare this week told the Citizen how she will maintain a tough stance on illegal drugs, dealing a hefty blow to calls for the legalisation of cannabis.

The Chief Constable of Lancashire Police said her attitude towards all drugs was as tough as ever.

Speaking exclusively to the Citizen, Mrs Clare said it was her priority to protect the people of Lancashire.

She said: "We have outlined many priorities and targets for cutting crime and preventing it in the future.

"Naturally, drugs feature at the very top of this because it is something which concerns many members of the communities we serve.

"We need to protect our children from drugs and the people who push them. We also need to make children aware of the perils of drugs, so they know the dangers and don't feel as if they are just being told not to take them without knowing the ins and outs."

This will mean the continuation of the Choices programme - a scheme to help youngsters understand drugs - throughout the area's high schools.

But despite a growing body of support for the legalisation of cannabis and other so-called soft drugs, Mrs Clare said the police position remained the same.

She added: "On no account will we condone drugs. It is our job to protect our children and that is exactly what we plan to continue doing."

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