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17 July 2008 : Column 600Wcontinued
Kerry McCarthy: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department for what reasons the recommendation of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs that benzodiazepines should be included in Schedule II of the 1985 Drugs Misuse Regulations was not accepted. 
Mr. Coaker: Benzodiazepines have been controlled as Class C drugs under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 since 1986. The availability of benzodiazepines for legitimate medicinal use is regulated by the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001. Most benzodiazepines are regulated under schedule 4, part 1 of the regulations, with the exception of temazepam, flunitrazepam and midazolam which are regulated under schedule 3. Diazepam is also subject to instalment dispensing arrangements.
In 1998, the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs advised the Government that all benzodiazepines should be placed into schedule 3 subject to due consideration of the accompanying prescription and safe custody requirements under the regulations. In response to these concerns, the Government decided that rescheduling of benzodiazepines should be made on a case by case basis, with additional controls on the import, export and possession of all benzodiazepines. These controls were introduced in February 2002.
In 2004, the Advisory Council concluded that the controls for the schedule 4, part 1 benzodiazepines were sufficient, endorsing the Government's response to its earlier recommendation.
Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what research her Department has conducted or evaluated on possible links between skunk cannabis use and employment rates. 
Mr. Coaker: The Home Office has not conducted any research or evaluation of possible links between skunk cannabis use and employment rates.
Mr. Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) shotguns, (b) rifles and (c) handguns were stolen in (i) England and Wales and (ii) each police force area in each year since 1997; and how many were subsequently (1) recovered and (2) returned to the owner. 
Mr. Coaker: Data on misappropriated firearms (i.e. stolen, obtained by fraud or forgery etc., or handled dishonestly) for England and Wales are given from 1997 to 2006-07. Breakdowns of these weapons by police force area are not available centrally for years up to and including 2002-03; therefore force data levels are given only from 2003-04 to 2006-07.
Information on whether or not stolen firearms are subsequently recovered and returned to the owner is not collected centrally.
|Table A: Firearms misappropriated( 1) in crimes recorded by the police in England and Wales, 1997 to 2002-03|
|Table B: Firearms misappropriated( 1) in crimes recorded by the police, England and Wales, by police force area, 2003-04 to 2006-07|
|(1) Misappropriated is defined as stolen, obtained by fraud or forgery etc., or handled dishonestly.|
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