§ Mr. Farr
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what guidance he has given to the police on inspection of security arrangements made by retail chemists in respect of dangerous drugs in their possession; and what information is available to him of the amount of police time spent on such work, of the cost to the police of this service and the amount of this cost which is recovered from the individual chemists.
§ Mr. Merlyn Rees
Detailed requirements for arrangements to secure controlled drugs are laid down in the Misuse of Drugs (Safe Custody) Regulations 1973, which enable the police to inspect premises in order to see whether the requirements are being met. The Home Office has in addition given guidance to the police about the advice to be offered by them to retail chemists on the security of drugs cabinets. Further advice is also given to the police from the regional inspectors of the Home Office drugs branch.
The information requested about the time spent by the police when inspecting the security arrangements made by retail chemists, and the cost of their doing so, is not available. No charge is made to a chemist who receives advice because it is part of the duty of the police to encourage sensible precautions against the theft of drugs, as against other crime.