Drug Crime

Oral Answers to Questions — Home Department – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 9th February 2015.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Bob Blackman Bob Blackman Conservative, Harrow East 2:30 pm, 9th February 2015

What steps she has taken to improve the police response to drug crime.

Photo of Mike Penning Mike Penning The Minister of State, Home Department, The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice

Thankfully, the long-term trend in drug use across the country, particularly in heroin and crack cocaine, continues to fall, but we must be vigilant, especially with synthetic drugs. I recently introduced a type of roadside drug testing, which is the first of its type in this country, and—I believe—the world.

Photo of Bob Blackman Bob Blackman Conservative, Harrow East

I trust it will be remembered that there will be a record number of police in London by the end of March, thanks to the enlightened policies of the Mayor of London.

I thank my right hon. Friend for his answer. What further action will be taken to combat people who continue to drive under the influence of drugs, so that we can drive that scourge off the road?

Photo of Mike Penning Mike Penning The Minister of State, Home Department, The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice

I was at Hendon training college only the week before last, and it was a pleasure to see the new recruits passing out. We will continue to bring technology forward. The police have been crying out for technology, at the roadside and in the station, to ensure we are as tough on drug-driving as we are on drink-driving. That is exactly what we will do.

Photo of Russell Brown Russell Brown Shadow Minister (Scotland)

I am sure the Minister would accept there is relatively free movement of drugs up and down and across the country. Is he in discussions with the devolved Administrations on the tackling of drug crime and the free movement of drugs?

Photo of Mike Penning Mike Penning The Minister of State, Home Department, The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice

The National Crime Agency looks at organised crime across the country. I am very pleased to say that the NCA is now in Northern Ireland, something we have been waiting for for some considerable time.

Photo of Julian Huppert Julian Huppert Liberal Democrat, Cambridge

The chief constable of Durham constabulary, Mike Barton, has called for a change in our drugs policy, arguing that we would best tackle crime, and gang crime in particular, by changing our approach. Will the Minister listen to the increasing number of experts in law enforcement who want a new way to deal with this issue?

Photo of Mike Penning Mike Penning The Minister of State, Home Department, The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice

An increase in number of one, probably. I do not agree at all with the chief constable of Durham. I have told him so and I will continue to tell him. Drugs are a scourge in our society and we must do everything we can to crack down on them.

P

What an ignorant response, particularly from the MP who represents the constitiuency of Hemel's Cannabis Farm.

Submitted by Peter Reynolds Read 1 more annotation

Photo of Andrew Stephenson Andrew Stephenson Conservative, Pendle

On 28 August, I spoke to a resident at my advice surgery who had concerns about a property near their home being used as a cannabis farm. I relayed those concerns to the police and a raid took place on 10 September. Some 627 cannabis plants were found, conservatively estimated to be worth £250,000. Will my right hon. Friend join me in commending the work of Lancashire police, in particular the ongoing Operation Regenerate, which is targeting organised criminal gangs and drug dealers in my area?

Photo of Mike Penning Mike Penning The Minister of State, Home Department, The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice

I am aware of Operation Regenerate: it is a fantastic scheme, which forces around the country are trying to replicate. The seizure will mean fewer drugs on our streets, particularly the most abhorrent types of drugs that are affecting our constituents. At the same time, the money that was going to be in criminal hands is now in the Treasury.