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Drugs: Crime

Volume 485: debated on Thursday 18 December 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate she has made of the (a) number of acquisitive crimes committed by dependent drug users, (b) the monetary value of goods so stolen and (c) the cost to the public purse arising from police time spent investigating such thefts in the last 12 months for which figures are available. (243292)

(a) No estimate has been made of the total number of acquisitive crimes committed by dependent drug users, although research evidence does indicate that a large proportion of acquisitive crime is related to drug use. It has been estimated that between a third and a half of all acquisitive crime is drug-related (Source: Drug Strategy 2008).

Home Office research shows that a cohort of individuals identified as drug mis-users (testing positive for heroin, cocaine/crack cocaine) following arrest or charge through the Drug Interventions Programme had an average of 8.8 convictions in the three-year period prior to their positive test. (Source: Home Office Research Report 2, Table 6). It is unknown how many of these individuals were drug dependent. It is also unknown how many of the prior convictions were for acquisitive offending.

Other Home Office research shows that where arrestees report (at least) weekly use of heroin and/or crack cocaine, 81 per cent. of them reported committing acquisitive crimes in the year prior to interview, compared to 30 per cent. of non-heroin and/or crack cocaine users. (Source: Table 5.4 Home Office Statistical Bulletin 12/07).

(b) The total value of monetary goods stolen by dependent drug users is not known.

(c) There is no estimate of the cost arising from police time spent investigating such thefts, although estimates are available of the costs to the CJS of Class A drug related crime. The total cost to the criminal justice system was estimated to be around £3.5 billion for the year 2003-04. (Source: Table 3.3, Home Office Online Report 16/06.)

I will arrange for a copy of the documents referred to be sent to you and for a copy to be placed in the Library of both Houses. They can also be located at the following:

Drug Strategy 2008

http://drugs.homeoffice.gov.uk/drug-strategy/overview/

Home Office Research Report 2

http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pdfs07/horr02c.pdf

Home Office Online report 16/06

http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pdfs06/rdsolr1606.pdf

Home Office Statistical Bulletin 12/07

http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pdfs07/hosb1207.pdf.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate she has made of the level of acquisitive crime associated with drug addiction in each of the last five years; and if she will make a statement. (243293)

No annual estimates are made of the levels of acquisitive crime associated with drug addiction.

It is broadly estimated that between a third and half of acquisitive crime is drug-related1. Recent Home Office research has found that 81 per cent. of arrestees who used heroin and/or crack cocaine (HC) on at least a weekly basis reported committing acquisitive crimes in the 12 months prior to arrest, in comparison to only 30 per cent. of those arrestees who did not take HC weekly2. Around two-fifths (39 per cent.) of drug treatment seekers reported committing an acquisitive crime in the four weeks prior to interview. This figure rose in the case of heroin and crack cocaine users, with 55 per cent. reporting that they committed an acquisitive crime in the four weeks before interview3.

I will arrange for a copy of the documents referred to be sent to you and for a copy to be placed in the Library of both Houses. They can also be located at the following:

Drug Strategy 2008:

http://drugs.homeoffice.gov.uk/drug-strategy/overview/

Home Office Statistical Bulletin 12/07:

http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pdfs07/hosb1207.pdf

Home Office Research Report 3:

http://rds.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pdfs07/horr03b.pdf

Sources:

1 Drug Strategy 2008.

2 Table 5.4 Home Office Statistical Bulletin 12/07.

3 Home Office Research Report 3.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether her Department has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated research on the relationships between drug dependency, acquisitive crime and the street price of drugs. (243520)

The Department has not commissioned or evaluated research on the relationship between drug dependency, acquisitive crime and the street price of drugs.

The Department has commissioned a broad range of research which provides insight into the relationship between drug dependency and offending, and this research is routinely made available on the departmental website at:

http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/horrpubs.html