Drug-related property crime
36. On some estimates, one third of all property
crime in the UK is judged to be drug related.
Preliminary data from the Home Office "demonstrate much higher
reported levels of acquisitive offending among users of heroin
and cocaine/crack than among those arrestees who use other types
of drug, or who do not use drugs at all".
Overwhelmingly the users involved in crime tend to be the so-called
problematic drug users who lead chaotic life styles and who are
dependent on highly addictive drugs such as heroin or crack cocaine.
These addicts each spend around £16,500 on their drugs a
year, of which an average of £13,000 is the proceeds of crime.
This group commits very large amounts of shoplifting, burglary
and other crime to finance drug purchases. We have been told that,
if appropriate drug treatment is given to this group, they reduce
their offending levels.
37. We have not been able to assess the contribution
of drugs towards violent crime levels although it is a matter
of record that the recent upsurge of shooting in London and other
major cities is related to drugsprincipally crack cocaine.
It is also self-evident that the estimated £6.6 billion spent
on drugs by users each year represents a lucrative source of revenue
to the suppliersmostly organised crimeand it would
be surprising if this did not generate considerable violence amongst
drug dealers seeking to extend or protect their territory.
38. We believe that drugs policy should primarily
be addressed to dealing with the 250,000 problematic drug users
rather than towards the large numbers whose drug use poses no
serious threat either to their own well-being or to that of others.
It follows that government policy should be examined in this
light, and it is to this that we now turn.
14 Baker Paul, Goulden Chris, Sharp Clare, Sondhi
Arun and Ramsay Malcolm, Drug Misuse declared in 2000: results
from the British Crime Survey, Research Study 224, Home Office,
2001 (hereafter "Drug Misuse declared in 2000")
p. 3. Back
Figures for use "ever" are used to estimate the extent
of experimental use, figures for use "in the last year"
gives an idea of occasional use, while figures for use "in
the last month" show the extent of more regular use. Back
Drug Misuse Declared in 2000, pp. vi-vii. Back
Q. 635. Back
Q. 714. Back
Q. 1207. Back
Q. 715. Back
Q. 1250. Back
Q. 1322. Back
Q. 282. Back
Ev 199. Back
The Foundation is financially independent of all government agencies
and the police service. Financial support comes from a wide variety
of corporate, charitable and individual donors, including the
Tomkins Foundation, The Zochonis Charitable Trust, the Hobson
Charity and the Underwood Trust: Drugs and the Law: Report
of the Independent Inquiry into the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971,
The Police Foundation, 2000, (hereafter "Drugs and the
Law") p. 43. Back
Reducing Drug Related Deaths: A Report by the Advisory Council
on the Misuse of Drugs, Home Office, 2000, (hereafter "Reducing
Drug Related Deaths") p. 3. Back
Ibid, p. 59. Back
Ibid, p. 1. Back
Ibid, p. 51; p.1. Back
Ev 200. Back
"UKHRA is a campaigning coalition of health and social care
workers, drug users, criminal justice workers and educationalists,
established in March 2001 as a direct response to inadequacies
of the UK national drug strategies", (Ev 188); Ev 189. Back
Q. 550. Back
Reducing Drug Related Deaths, p. 1. Back
Ev 22. Back
Q. 1345. Back
Reducing Drug Related Deaths, p. 3. Back
Q. 398. Back
Tackling Drugs to Build a Better Britain, p. 7. Back
Drugs and the Law, p. 22. Back
Ev 199. Back
Bennet Trevor, Drugs and Crime, Research Study 205, Home
Office, 2000, cited in Wilkinson Francis, Heroin: The failure
of Prohibition and What to do now, Paper No. 24, Centre for
Reform, 2001, p. 11. Back
DrugScope, Ev 50. Back
The Guardian, 22 September 2001. Back