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South America: Cocaine

Volume 457: debated on Wednesday 7 March 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps her Department is taking to tackle cocaine imported into the UK from South America. (125851)

Preventing the importation of cocaine from Latin America into the UK is a top priority for the UK’s international counter-narcotics efforts. The UK works closely with host Governments to disrupt trafficking, and to seize consignments of illicit drugs and their financial proceeds. We are helping to build capacity among the region’s law enforcement agencies and judiciary, with the provision of training and equipment. We work closely with other partners including the EU and US to maximise joint effort.

The UK devotes considerable resources within the region in its fight against cocaine and in helping to reduce harm to the UK. Through its Drugs and Crime Fund, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has allocated some £1.7 million to specific projects to support counter-narcotics efforts in the Latin American region since 2005. For the financial year commencing April 2007, a sum of £960,000 has provisionally been allocated.

The Government take a broad approach to tackling the trade in illicit drugs, through a mix of political engagement, capacity building and law enforcement support in producer, transit and consumer countries. This includes working with Governments of producer and transit countries in Latin America, as well as with Governments in countries along the main trafficking routes for drugs from Latin America (especially through the Caribbean and West Africa).