HC Deb 18 November 1991 vol 199 cc18-9W
Mr. Alton

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what is the monetary value of assets which have been sequestrated from drugs dealers over the past five years; how the money has been used; and if he will make a statement;

(2) if he will direct that the sequestrated or confiscated assets of convicted drugs dealers are invested back into the communities where the dealers operated, and specifically devoted to local schools and anti-drugs projects.

Mr. John Patten

[holding answer 15 November 1991]: The latest figures, which are in respect of confiscation orders made in 1987, 1988 and 1989, are given in table 7.25 of "Criminal Statistics England and Wales 1989", a copy of which is in the Library. These show that over £17 million was ordered to be confiscated in those years. The current estimate by the national drugs intelligence unit of the cumulative total of confiscation orders made since the Drugs Trafficking Offences Act came into force in January 1987, up to the end of 1990, is in excess of £27 million.

Under present public accounting arrangements confiscated money is treated in the same way as fine revenue, and paid directly into the Consolidated Fund from which Government expenditure generally—including substantial support for drug-related work—is financed.

In April 1991, my right hon. Friend announced that assets confiscated here under drug confiscation agreements with other countries will be recycled, through a new fund, to support work against drug misuse. Any gifts to the United Kingdom from overseas Governments, made in recognition of our co-operation in international investigations, will also be available to the fund. The fund will be available for one-off projects to help in the fight against drug misuse, either in the United Kingdom or abroad. Projects may include special investigations or equipment for the police service or HM Customs and Excise, education publicity, and treatment and rehabilitation. The first payments from the fund will be made in April 1992. We hope to announce shortly the list of projects to be funded from this source.