The former Deputy Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police has said that legalising drugs would “significantly reduce” street violence.
Lord Brian Paddick added that legalisation would take the drugs “out of the hands of criminals”.
He told talkRADIO’s Matthew Wright: “To say that drugs are the cause of all the violence is not the case. It is to with respect. It is to do with gang disputes.
“It is not necessarily directly linked to drugs. The reason why there is violence driven by drugs is because they are illegal.
“If you were to legalise and regulate drugs, you would take the dealing out of the hands of the criminals. You would then significantly reduce the violence as well.”
He added: “From my experience, it was not a priority for communities for the police to be arresting people for the small amount of cannabis.”
Lord Paddick also suggested that more “uniforms on the streets” were need to tackle violent crime such as stabbings.
The prime minister received backlash in March after she said there "was no direct correlation between certain crimes and police numbers".
Lord Paddick said: “If criminals don’t see any uniforms on the streets, that gives them confidence to keep on breaking the law.
“There is no visible deterrent. The only effective way to police knife crime is to convince knife carriers that they are going to get caught.
“In order to do that, you need to have visible policing on the streets and we do not have enough officers to do that.”