Initimate Searches

Part of Orders of the Day — Police and Criminal Evidence Bill – in the House of Commons at 6:45 pm on 25th October 1984.

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Photo of Mr Eldon Griffiths Mr Eldon Griffiths , Bury St Edmunds 6:45 pm, 25th October 1984

I agree with the hon. Member for Birmingham, Erdington (Mr. Corbett) that we are talking about matters that are dangerous to a free society. The most dangerous feature that we face is the avalanche of drugs that are coming into the country. When the Bill was discussed on Report the hon. Member for Norwood (Mr. Fraser) suggested that the use of hard drugs was taking on epidemic proportions. We must judge the danger to our society against that description.

I am obliged to three police officers for the information that they have made available. The chief constable of Sussex reported that in 1983 he executed 69 search warrants in his police area with a positive result for hard drugs. In 1984 he successfully executed 120—nearly double the 1983 figure. Seven arrests were made in 1982 involving heroin and 50 in 1983. So far this year 29 such arrests have been made at his count. The progression is clear. It is, of course, steeply upwards.

Secondly, I refer to the report of the chief constable of Lothian and the Borders police area. I have chosen areas that are representative of the country as a whole. The chief constable of Lothian and the Borders, in his annual report, stated: Drug abuse in Edinburgh has reached the stage where heroin is in prolific use in several districts of the city. He reported that there was a serious involvement of the criminal fraternity in the market for heroin, morphine and cocaine, that large sums of money are readily available for financing drug dealings and that there is evidence that the so-called customers are turning to crime to raise the money to feed their addiction. Those are the considered words of the chief constable in his report to his police authority.

The Times reported recently that a survey of those arrested for theft or house breaking in Edinburgh in a six-month period last year showed that more than 34 per cent. of those offences had direct links with drug abuse. The connection between hard drugs and violent crime is proven beyond peradventure.