HC Deb 29 April 1998 vol 311 cc136-7W
Mr. Clappison

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is his estimate of the number of criminally-active drug users who were convicted of offences in England and Wales in the last year for which figures are available. [40137]

Mr. George Howarth

The information requested is not available. However, the Home Office has a research programme designed to shred further light on the links between drugs and crime. A study conducted by the University of Cambridge of drug use by samples of people arrested by the police in various English cities was published recently (Home Office Research Study 183—Drugs and crime: the results of research on drug testing and interviewing arrestees), a copy of which is available for consultation in the Library. Key points to emerge were that:

Urine tests showed high levels of recent drug consumption among arrestees—61 per cent. had taken at least one illegal drug.Comparatively high proportions of arrestees across all sample areas tested positive for heroin/opiates (18 per cent.) and cocaine/crack (10 per cent.). These are costly drugs, often thought to be funded by acquisitive crime.Nearly half the arrestees who reported taking drugs within the last year said their drug use was connected with their offending. Among various factors, they emphasised the need for money to buy drugs.
Helen Jones

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people were imprisoned for drug-related offences(a) nationally and (b) in the North-West in each of the last five years. [39370]

Ms Quin

[holding answer 23 April 1998]: The available information is for England and Wales and is given in the table. Information on receptions of drugs offenders into prisons in England and Wales is published in successive volumes of "Prison statistics, England and Wales" (tables 3.9, 4.6 and 5.6 of the 1996 edition, column 3732), copies of which are in the Library.

Receptions under sentence1 into Prison Service establishments in England and Wales for drugs offences, 1993–1997
Year England and Wales North West Region2
1993 3,139 685
1994 3,483 423
1995 4,729 743
1996 6,100 1,023
19973 7,074 1,203
1Excludes fine defaulters.
2Includes the Prison Service Areas of Mersey, Manchester and the North West.
3 Provisional figures.