HC Deb 17 March 1988 vol 129 c656W
31. Mr. Sackville

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what further progress has been made in his campaign to prevent trafficking in cocaine and other illegal drugs.

Mr. Douglas Hogg

The Government continue to attach the highest priority to our comprehensive strategy aimed at tackling both the demand for and supply of drugs. The strategy is co-ordinated by the interdepartmental ministerial group on the misuse of drugs which I chair.

We are playing a leading role in drawing up a new United Nations convention on drug trafficking, and continue to encourage improved international co-operation (for example, by signing last month a memorandum of understanding with the Soviet Union). We provide development aid and bilateral assistance to producer and transit countries for crop substitution measures and to combat drug production and trafficking. In addition, the Home Office programme for drug-related enforcement projects overseas will increase from £0.5 million to £2 million per year as from 1988–89, some of which will be targeted on coca producing countries in South America. We plan to add to our existing network of customs and police drug liaison officers at strategic points abroad.

We have strengthened domestic enforcement by both customs and police and will be providing increased resources to the national drug intelligence unit in 1988–89. Since the Drug Trafficking Offences Act 1986 came into force a year ago, some £7 million in assets has been frozen and substantial sums confiscated. We are now seeking reciprocal agreements with other countries to make these powers even more effective and the first such agreement with the USA was signed last month.