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Drugs: Crime

Volume 483: debated on Tuesday 18 November 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of measures to combat drug-related crime in Northern Ireland. (233492)

Drug misuse in Northern Ireland, which has a lower incidence of Class A drug use than elsewhere in the UK, is falling. However, Government take the harm caused by drugs very seriously and will continue to prioritise the targeting of criminal gangs involved in the supply of illegal drugs.

The PSNI is committed to building on recent successes in disrupting the supply of drugs in Northern Ireland with an increased number of significant arrests and seizures. During 2007-08 the PSNI were responsible for frustrating, disrupting and dismantling 58 crime gangs involved in importing drugs into Northern Ireland and supplying them onto the streets. The PSNI and NIO work in partnership with devolved Departments, agencies and community and voluntary organisations to tackle alcohol and drug misuse, as part of the DHSSPS ‘New Strategic Direction for Dugs and Alcohol’.

Tackling the supply and sale of illegal drugs in Northern Ireland is a key priority for the Organised Crime Task Force (OCTF). OCTF partners work closely together with their counterparts in the rest of the UK and the Republic of Ireland to tackle the scourge of drugs. Government’s focus is on closing down the supply chain and stopping drugs reaching our streets.

Since the beginning of 2008 the PSNI have uncovered 77 cannabis factories; as a result of these operations, drugs to the value of £15.5 million have been seized and 72 people charged.