HC Deb 26 April 2001 vol 367 c400W
Mr. Pike

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate has been made of the percentage of recorded crime in Lancashire that was drug-related in the last five years. [158403]

Mr. Charles Clarke

Recorded crime statistics include statistics on drugs offences, but do not record whether other offences are related to offenders' drug habits. The percentage of drugs offences in overall recorded crime in Lancashire in the last five financial years for which figures are available is given in the table. It should be noted that there was a change in counting rules on 1 April 1998 which increased the drugs offences counted. Before this date, only drugs trafficking was counted, whereas after this date possession and other offences were also counted. The change in counting rules also affected the general counting of offences, including other expansions of the offences counted, and so the percentages of drugs offences counted before and after 1 April 1998 will not be directly comparable.

Year ending March Recorded drugs offences as a percentage of all recorded crime in Lancashire
1996 0.4
1997 0.5
1998 0.5
1999 3.5
2000 2.9

Both the British Crime Survey and the new England and Wales Arrestees Drug Abuse Monitoring (NEW-ADAM) programme of interviewing and drug testing arrestees shed some light on the links between drugs and crime, although these conclusions do not relate specifically to Lancashire.

For England and Wales as a whole, the British Crime Survey 2000 reported that 18 per cent. of victims of violent crime believed their attacker was under the influence of drugs.

The second report on the NEW-ADAM programme of interviewing and drug testing arrestees was published in August 2000 (Home Office Research Study 205, Drugs and Crime: The results of the second developmental stage of the NEW-ADAM programme). The research, undertaken by the University of Cambridge at four sites (London, Liverpool, Nottingham and Sunderland), found that 69 per cent. of arrestees tested positively for at least one drug, excluding alcohol.

It should be remembered that because an arrestee tested positive for drugs or a victim believed that a perpetrator was under the influence of drugs it does not necessarily mean that the consumption of drugs caused the crime to be committed. As a result, while the NEW-ADAM study and the British Crime Survey advance our knowledge of the links between drugs and crime, it will always be difficult to calculate a single percentage figure calculating precisely what proportion of crime is drug-related.