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Drugs: Crime

Question for Home Office

UIN 187083, tabled on 1 November 2018

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to his Department's report entitled Understanding organised crime 2015-16, published in November 2018, what assessment he has made of the reasons behind the £9.3 billion rise in the social and economic cost of drugs to society; and if he will make a statement.

Answered on

6 November 2018

The social and economic cost of organised drugs supply to the UK is estimated to £20 billion for the financial year 2015/16. This is an increase of £9.3 billion compared to the previous estimate for the financial year 2010/11. This is due to:

  • an increase in the unit costs used to estimate drug-related acquisitive crime;
  • an increase in the volume of drug-related deaths;
  • the inclusion of costs to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the National Crime Agency, and expenditure on media information activity;
  • the inclusion of non-legal aid defence spending in the costs to the criminal justice system for drug possession and supply offences and, to a lesser extent, the opportunity cost of jurors’ time,

Given much of the change in cost is attributable to changes in methodology, the 2015/16 estimate is not directly comparable with the 2010/11 estimate. Most of the change should not therefore be interpreted as a worsening of the overall situation.

The Government’s new Serious and Organised Crime Strategy emphasises the importance of tackling the high harm networks supplying drugs and trafficking them across the border. We are taking action target the illicit finance that underpins their activities through cash seizures, asset forfeitures, money laundering prosecutions and civil or criminal recovery prosecutions.

Answered by

Home Office
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