Drug Trafficking

Oral Answers to Questions — Northern Ireland – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 25 January 1996.

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Photo of Thomas McAvoy Thomas McAvoy , Glasgow Rutherglen 12:00, 25 January 1996

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many (a) arrests and (b) convictions have been made on charges of alleged drug trafficking offences in Northern Ireland for each of the last three years. [9633]

Photo of Mr John Wheeler Mr John Wheeler , Westminster North

The Royal Ulster Constabulary drugs squad collates figures showing the total number of persons arrested for all types of drugs offences. It is not possible to identify separately how many were arrested for drugs trafficking offences. There were a total of 610 arrests in 1992; 976 in 1993; and 1,196 in 1994. The number of convictions for drugs trafficking offences were 29 in 1992; 110 in 1993; and 116 in 1994.

Photo of Thomas McAvoy Thomas McAvoy , Glasgow Rutherglen

Does the Minister accept that the increase in those on-going figures shows the developing nature of the real problem of drug abuse in Northern Ireland? Many voluntary groups tackle drug abuse in Northern Ireland, such as the Northlands project in Londonderry/Derry, and Dunlewey, Contact Youth and Panda in Belfast. Those organisations receive some funding from the Government, but, in view of the need to tackle the problem on an overall basis, will he seriously consider increasing Government funding of those organisations?

Photo of Mr John Wheeler Mr John Wheeler , Westminster North

I am glad to tell the hon. Gentleman that I shortly expect to make a visit to the Northlands project so that I can see for myself the quality and extent of the work being done. I shall be visiting other projects too. In recognition of the growth of the drugs problem in Northern Ireland, funding has been increased to assist in education on the drug habit and its prevention. In addition, the RUC establishment has been greatly increased to prevent such offences.