Victory to the traffickers Britain's drugs debâcle; heroin and cocaine prices on the street are at record lows as seizures plummet; the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) was to be Tony Blair’s FBI, and it took over as the lead agency in the battle against ever more sophisticated drug cartels last year. Unpublished figures demonstrate that - so far - it is losing. Paul Lashmar investigates

Lashmar, Paul (2007) Victory to the traffickers Britain's drugs debâcle; heroin and cocaine prices on the street are at record lows as seizures plummet; the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) was to be Tony Blair’s FBI, and it took over as the lead agency in the battle against ever more sophisticated drug cartels last year. Unpublished figures demonstrate that - so far - it is losing. Paul Lashmar investigates. Independent on Sunday. p. 8.

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Abstract

Hard drug seizures at the nation's borders have plummeted, leaving heroin and cocaine freely and cheaply available on the nation's streets, an Independent on Sunday investigation can reveal. Class A drug confiscations at ports and airports have tumbled for the last four years and serious question marks are now being raised about the ability of the UK's "FBI", the Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca), to combat drug smuggling. Less than 3 tons of cocaine was seized in 2006-07 compared with over 9 tons in 2004-05 and 1 ton of heroin seized in 2006-07 compared to nearly 2.5 tons in 2004-05, according to official government statistics. Over the same period, ready availability has reduced the street price of heroin by £10 a gram since 2004 to £43. Ten years ago heroin was selling at £70 a gram. While ministers insist overall drug use is down - mainly due to a fall in cannabis use among the young - the figures hide a disturbing rise in class A drug use, particularly cocaine abuse among young people. The Government's own figures, released quietly last week, reveal there are an estimated 332,000 problem drug users in the UK - almost one in 10 of 15- to 64-year-olds. The research also revealed that many drug dealers believed the risk of arrest was low. Drug experts expressed dismay last night at the seizure figures, describing them as "absolutely startling", saying that smuggling drugs into Britain was easier than at any time in the last 30 years and questioning whether the agency needs a radical shake-up. The new statistics were cited as an indictment of the Government's drug policy and a further embarrassment for Gordon Brown's administration, which already faces a public crisis of confidence over its handling of the Northern Rock affair, HM Revenue & Customs' loss of 25 million people's personal and banking details and apparent failures to honour the Military Covenant.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Media, Film and Music > Media and Film
Subjects: J Political Science
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Sarah Maddox
Date Deposited: 11 Jan 2016 16:00
Last Modified: 11 Jan 2016 16:00
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/57464
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