HC Deb 18 May 2004 vol 421 cc855-7W
Mr. Ben Chapman

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what public funds were spent on tackling drug misuse in Wirral, South in(a) 1997–98 and (b) 2003–04. [172689]

Fund Treatment provider Budget headings Amount (£) Source of information
Wirral health authority AID/HIV monies Wirral West Cheshire partnership trust Aids/HIV 39,137 PCT records
Needle and Syringe Exchange 152,411
Infection control nurse 12,304
Drug Service budget 109,852
Total 313,704
Wirral MBC Social Services Department Social Services Grant Arch Initiatives SS Grant for counselling and support and residential services 296,748 Wirral MBC and Arch Initiatives
Total 296,748

In 2003–04 the total drugs allocation was £5,265,567. In order to ensure consistency figures supplied are based on funding streams associated with the National Drug Strategy and are readily verifiable. These funding streams are specifically targeted at tackling the harm caused to individuals, families and communities by the misuse of drugs. Other mainstream funding is made available at a local level, this varies and both in amount and origin as a result it is not possible to provide robust financial information.

Partnership Capacity (DAT CAD and DAT DEV and strategic grant) 80,328
Treatment Pooled Budget 4,299,273
Through Care After Care Pump Priming 35,000
Building Safer Communities1 362,745
Young people 488,221
Total 5,265,567
1 Contains non drug elements.

Mrs. Gillan

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what investigations have been carried out by his Department on the reliability of the drugs tests currently available. [161181]

Caroline Flint

Drug testing technology and its reliability is kept under constant review by the Home Office due to its applicability to roadside impairment testing and its relevance in the workplace. The extent and definition of 'reliability' in these different settings is by nature of the criminal law different in each case.

Recently there has been research on the reliability of different methods of drug testing carried out by the Forensic Science Service (FSS) for the specific purpose of testing persons in custody suites to see if they have used drugs. The research used saliva as a point-of-contact using the Cozart RapiScanTM electronic test strip reader, one of few commercially available on-site testing kits for oral fluid (saliva). Overall, the results of

Caroline Flint

Breakdown of financial allocation to local constituencies is not available in the form requested as funding is allocated to Drug Action Team (DAT) area (Wirral DAT).

In 1997–98 funding available to the two main local drug treatment providers in the Wirral area totalled £610,452. This was prior to the formation of the National Drugs Strategy, and this figure has been provided from locally held information.

this study revealed that saliva based testings are not reliable enough to evidence impairment for the purposes of charge for driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs.

In the workplace, the requirements of the criminal law do not have to be met and it is up to employers to decide what margin of proof is required to consider action against specific employees. Saliva, urine, hair analysis or blood tests may all be sufficiently reliable. The Home Office does provides guidance on the various types of tests available to any companies who seek advice, which suggests that some tests are more reliable than others.

In the July 2004, an independent inquiry report on drugs testing in the workplace will review some of the complex and wide reaching issues surrounding drug testing in the workplace including the reliability of different testing devices. The report will be the first attempt to give a full picture of drug testing in the workplace and will include recommendations to government, employers and other relevant bodies.

David Davis

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department on how many occasions the police have issued closure notices on premises they had reason to believe were being used for the production, supply or use of Class A drugs and causing serious nuisance or disturbance under powers contained in section 1 (11) of the Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003. [169784]

Caroline Flint

The power to close premises has been widely welcomed and applauded by both the police who use it and the communities to whom its use has provided immediate relief from the blight of drug supply and use, and associated antisocial behaviour. This power provides a genuinely effective tool to tackle nightmare premises such as 'crack houses'. The power has been used at least 19 times in our Anti Social Behaviour Trailblazer sites alone since January and indications from discussions with the police and courts suggest that the power may have been used over 100 times in England and Wales.

However, the numbers of closure notices issued by the police are not recorded centrally as this data requirement would be an additional burden upon frontline police forces. We wish instead to record the number of closure orders issued by magistrates courts under section 2 of the Anti-social Behaviour Act. As this data becomes available this will allow for us to count how the power is being used nationally.