§ Mr. Oaten
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many hours he estimates have been spent by the police service in each of the last 15 years in dealing with drug related offences; how many hours per year on average this represented for each serving police officer; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Ms Blears
The information requested is not collected. Police officers in particular exercise considerable discretion and judgement in the way they carry out their duties in this area as in others. Their deployment however is for the Chief Officer of Police who utilise a number of strategies to combat drug crime.
The Government are strengthening enforcement at a local level, supporting the police to better tackle drug misuse. Through the updated Drug Strategy annual proactive expenditure on reducing drug supply is expected to be £380 million for 2003–04 for all enforcement agencies.
We are taking high profile action against suppliers in communities with particular problems. Every opportunity from arrest, to court, to sentence, will be used to get offenders into treatment to break the link between drugs and crime.