I beg to move,
That this House
has considered the matter of tackling drug crime in local communities.
It is a privilege to serve under your chairmanship, Mr Pritchard. I am grateful to every hon. Member who has come to participate in this debate. I am well aware that the issues we are discussing affect not only my constituency in Keighley and Ilkley but constituencies across the country. I welcome the fact that Members are here from different parties, communities and areas, all coming together to share their thoughts on a real challenge in our communities and to come together to deliver progressive change.
As MPs we want to sing from the rooftops what is so great in our communities, but it is important that we also tackle the darker issues, such as drug crime, that have plagued our cities, towns and rural communities for far too long. Drug crime is a real problem across the country. Last year there were 72,024 arrests for drug offences in England and Wales—up from the previous year, and the highest total in more than five years. It is estimated that one in 11 adults—more than 3 million people—took an illicit drug last year. It is alarming that 2% of adults are classed as frequent drug users. There are more than 300,000 heroin and crack addicts in England, who between them are responsible for nearly half of all burglaries, robberies and other types of crime.
Sadly, those issues are prevalent in my constituency. There is a strong chance that someone going for a walk in some parts of my constituency will see drug crime and drug distribution taking place. Drug crime is happening in all parts of my town.