Thursday, February 28, 2008

Labour drug strategy another paper tiger

Commenting on the Government’s 10-year drug strategy announced today, Liberal Democrat Shadow Home Secretary, Chris Huhne said:

“The Government has already been through one ten-year drugs strategy and a failed drugs tsar, but drug addiction is still the most significant contributor to crimes against property with 35 per cent of those arrested testing positive for opiates such as heroin or cocaine, including crack.

“Cutting benefits for addicts is a gimmick that is more likely to increase crime than reduce it, and the police already have the powers to freeze the assets of anyone who is arrested for serious crime.

“This is a medical and social problem which must be addressed with effective treatment programmes, yet the Government is lamentably failing to fund programmes that can cut reoffending rates by half. The Department of Health and the Home Office do not coordinate their efforts, and the result is a continuing public health and crime crisis.”

The situation is no better in Wales. A member was recently appalled to see illegal drug transactions taking place openly in the centre of Swansea, in a supposedly tightly-policed zone.

The Home Office's own figures show that between a third and a half of all acquisitive crime is estimated to be drug-related, and that 35 per cent of those arrested tested positive for opiates or cocaine.
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