Brian Paddick is a Commander of the Metropolitan Police in England who holds the post of acting deputy assistant commissioner. In 2002 he caused outrage in England when he instructed his officers not to arrest or charge people who were found to be in possession of cannabis. His instructions were for officers to issue on-the-spot warnings and confiscate the drugs.
His actions had an extremely positive effect on the crime rate of the Brixton area, and relations between the community and police improved dramatically. However the national press in the UK heard about what he had done and overnight the issue became a national scandal.
The situation worsened when the press printed an admission by Commander Paddick in an online forum that he had used cannabis himself. They also highlighted his homosexuality as an area for concern.
Although he was suspended from the police while the allegations made by the press were investigated, no charge was brought against him; he has been reinstated, and subsequently promoted to acting deputy assistant commissioner.
The situation did, however, encourage the British government to re-evaluate their policies with regard to drugs, and a change in the law to decriminalise cannabis from a class B to a class C drug was suggested. Subsequently the law was altered in February 2004.