HC Deb 05 February 1985 vol 72 cc514-5W
Mr. John Browne

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what changes have been made in current defence cash limits for 1984–85.

Mr. Heseltine

There are the following changes which are subject to parliamentary approval of the necessary spring Supplementary Estimates. None of the changes adds to the planning total of public expenditure.

personnel convicted of offences connected with drugs for each year since 1980, by service, rank and type of drug concerned.

Mr. Stanley

[pursuant to his reply, 29 January 1985, c. 159]: The number of British armed forces personnel convicted in military and civilian proceedings on drug-related offences in the years in question is as follows:

Royal Navy/Royal Marines Army RAF
1980 100 39 14
1981 100 70 32
1982 36 69 17
1983 61 114 15
(to 30 September) 32 118 109

Details of types of drugs involved in the above cases are not available; however, more than 90 per cent. of the RAF's and some 80 per cent. of the Navy's convictions were for offences involving cannibis only. A detailed breakdown of ranks is not available as such statistics are not kept; however, only one officer (Army 1982) has been convicted during the period.


1. The Royal Navy's figures are not directly comparable to those of the other two services because:

(a) they do not include convictions in civilian courts for which records are not readily available, and

(b) the Royal Navy's policy is to try almost all drugs cases whilst the other two services have tended to deal with very minor cases administratively.

2. The RAF figure for 1984 reflects the fact that from the beginning of that year all minor offences have been subject to formal disciplinary action rather than being dealt with administratively as previously.

3. All Royal Navy figures and RAF figures for 1984 include convictions for minor drug-related offences charged respectively under section 39 of the Naval Discipline Act or section 69 of the Air Force Act. The Army does not produce a breakdown of offences charged under section 69 of the Army Act which is used for a wide variety of misdemeanours, and no section 69 offences are therefore included in the Army's figures.