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Drugs: Crime

Volume 458: debated on Thursday 15 March 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent assessment has been made of the effect of (a) drug misuse and (b) alcohol abuse on criminal behaviour; and if he will make a statement. (119116)

[holding answer 8 February 2007]: The Home Office has commissioned research on the association of drug and alcohol use with specific aspects of offending, and routinely collates information on the proportion of alcohol related violent crime based on an assessment by the victim.

Published Home Office research estimates that 15 per cent. of all persons arrested for any offence reported that they had committed a crime in order to obtain drugs in the last four weeks. The proportion increased to 46 per cent. among those persons who reported taking heroin, crack or cocaine in the same four-week period. This estimate is published in the Arrestee Survey Annual Report: October 2003-September 2004.

Information which is routinely published from the British Crime Survey (BCS) provides an assessment of alcohol related violent crime. In 2005-06 it is estimated that victims believed the offenders to be under the influence of alcohol in 44 per cent. of all violent incidents. This information is contained in the statistical publication Crime in England and Wales 2005-06.

Additional research findings from the Offending Crime and Justice Survey (OCJS) suggest that being drunk once a month or more in the last year is associated with offending among 10 to 25-year-olds. This information is contained in the report “Young People and Crime: Findings from the 2005 Offending Crime and Justice Survey” and was published in December 2006.