Drug Crime

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 2:30 pm on 20th April 2022.

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Photo of Robbie Moore Robbie Moore Conservative, Keighley 2:30 pm, 20th April 2022

My hon. Friend obviously knows what the next paragraphs of my speech are. In terms of that collaborative approach, we need to give the Department of Health more freedom to instigate some of the measures needed to help those who get driven into this cycle of drug addiction, and to ensure that more support is provided in the treatment sphere as well. Coupled with that, we have to have the right strategy, which involves taking a hard-line approach with those involved in the drug distribution network and those supplying illegal drugs and bringing them into our communities.

I want to give a good example of a very local initiative that has been utilised in Keighley and that is working incredibly well. Driven by the Home Office and initially branded Operation Springhaven, it specifically targeted a small part of my community—an area in Keighley—that was known for having horrendous issues with drug distribution and dealing. Initiated by the Home Office, it took a partnership-led approach and was worked on in collaboration with West Yorkshire police. It brought the local authority, local community groups and the town council onboard. When we took a targeted approach to a specific area, it was not only about tackling drug crime but about being aware of where the drug dealing happened: low-lit back streets that often had overgrown vegetation. All those organisations could work together to try to remove the drug dealing that was taking place. It was done with the point of providing a lot more reassurance to residents living in that area, and involved a lot of door knocking and getting residents to take ownership and buy in to the strategy. It worked incredibly well. I ask the Minister whether that strategy could be adopted and rolled out beyond the initial pilot scheme we had in Keighley.

I conclude by saying that drug crime is dark and horrendous and impacts every level of society, from more affluent areas all the way down to the most deprived areas. It is a dangerous, dark crime that relies on the most evil in society exploiting the weakest. I commend the Government for the work that they are doing, but I would like to understand how we can make sure that the announcements that were made at the end of last year can be delivered as quickly as possible to communities such as those I represent across Keighley and Ilkley.