§ 21. Mr. Rathbone
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when the last meeting of the ministerial group on the misuse of drugs took place, and what it discussed.
§ Mr. Douglas Hogg
The last meeting of the ministerial group on the misuse of drugs, which I chair, took place on 9 February. Issues discussed included Customs' provisional drug seizure figures for 1988, plans for regionally-based anti-drug publicity campaigns, the development of drug misuse services in 1989–90 and evaluation of pilot syringe exchange schemes.
§ Mr. Hurd
I refer my hon. Friend to the answer that I gave on 2 February to a similar question from my hon. Friend the Member for Rugby and Kenilworth (Mr. Pawsey) at column419. Since then, I have taken part in useful discussions about co-operation against illicit drug trafficking, among other matters, with my counterparts in the Federal Republic of Germany and in France.
§ 29. Mr. Knapman
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps have been taken to curtail the illegal import of drugs.
§ Mr. Douglas Hogg
The Government have developed a comprehensive and balanced strategy aimed at tackling all aspects of the drugs problem; it is overseen by the ministerial group on the misuse of drugs.261W
Specific measures aimed at preventing and detecting the illicit importation of drugs include:supporting international efforts to curb trafficking in drugs. Last December together with 42 other countries we signed the new United Nations convention against illicit traffic in drugs. We also provide drug-related assistance overseas and maintain a number of drug liaison officers at strategic points on drug trafficking routes.strengthening Customs and police enforcement. During 1988–89 a further 233 customs preventive staff have been allocated and the number of specialist customs drugs investigation staff will have risen to 395. We have also further strengthened the national drugs intelligence unit which co-ordinates drugs intelligence for Customs and police.deterring drug traffickers by high maximum penalties and by confiscating the profits of their crime. We have already entered into reciprocal agreements with four countries for the confiscation of drug traffickers' assets, and are negotiating more.
§ 46. Mr. Tredinnick
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what progress he has made in securing closer international co-operation on confiscation of drug-traffickers' assets.
§ Mr. John Patten
We have signed bilateral agreements with the United States of America, Canada, the Bahamas and Australia. and have completed substantive negotiations with Spain, Switzerland and Sweden. We expect to conclude further agreements this year. The United Kingdom also played a major part in bringing about the adoption in Vienna last December of a new United Nations convention against illicit traffic in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, which among other measures obliges member states to assist each other in confiscating the proceeds of drug trafficking.
§ 54. Mr. Andrew MacKay
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what are the proceeds received to date from the confiscation of the assets of drug traffickers.
§ Mr. John Patten
The courts have made confiscation orders totalling more than £3 million since section 1 of the Drug Trafficking Offences Act 1986 came into force on 12 January 1987. The information held centrally does not at present distinguish revenue obtained from the payment of such orders from revenue obtained from payment of other monetary penalties.