HC Deb 22 May 2002 vol 386 cc450-1W
Mr. Laws

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the change in the amount of drug-related crime since 1997; and if he will make a statement. [56220]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth

[holding answer 21 May 2002]: Levels of drug-related crime cannot be directly measured as no routine statistical data are collected on whether an offence may have been committed as a result of drug taking. However, the Home Office compiles research findings and statistics that provide indirect measures of drug-related crime.

The NEW-ADAM research programme of interviewing and drug testing those arrested by the police in 16 areas sheds some light on the links between drugs and crime, but cannot provide national trend data from 1997. Fieldwork was completed this year in eight areas originally visited in 1999. Results from this project, showing the change in drug use and crime among arrestees in these eight areas will be published later this year.

We are currently reviewing the drugs strategy targets and progress against them, including those concerning drugs and crime, to ensure we still have the right balance and focus. As part of this review, we are undertaking work to improve our ability to track changes over time in drug-related crime. The outcome of the review will be announced before the summer recess.

Information is collected on the number of drug offenders. The most recent figures were published on 17 May, in Home Office Statistical Bulletin Number 4/02 "Drug Seizure and Offender Statistics, United Kingdom, 2000", copies of which will be placed in the Library. These show that from 1997 to 2000 the number of drug offenders dealt with has fallen from 114,629 to 104,390.

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