Heroin addicts will be given a free supply of the substance by police in a bid to prevent drug-related crime.
Durham Constabulary are the first force in the country to use part of their budget to fund the scheme in a bid to stop users stealing to pay for drugs, the Mail on Sunday reported.
The force has revealed plans to introduce plans to allow addicts to inject themselves with the Class A drug twice-a-day in a so-called shooting gallery.
Chief Constable Mike Barton told the paper: “We need to get over our moral panic about giving people heroin as part of a treatment plan.
"Our primary concern is to prevent crime. If we've got people who are addicted to Class A drugs committing crime, it makes good sense to get that person off drugs.
“Addiction is a medical problem, not a criminal justice problem.”
Tory MP David Burrowes, who sits on the Home Affairs Select Committee criticised plans.
He told the Telegraph: "I'm sure the public will be surprised and dismayed by this.
“It's one thing for public health money to be used in this way, but it's quite another for the overstretched policing budget.
“I'm sure this money could go to catching suppliers of drugs rather than propping up addicts.”