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Crime and victims

Drug-related crime

The links between drug use and crime are clearly established. In fact, around three-quarters of crack and heroin users claim they commit crime to feed their habit. It is our priority to break this damaging chain.

Acquisitive crime – such as shoplifting, burglary, vehicle crime and robbery – to which drug-related crime makes a significant contribution, fell by 55% between 1997 and 2007. (Source: recorded crime figures)

This is largely thanks to key Government programmes, such as the Drug Interventions Programme, which directs drug-misusing offenders out of crime and into treatment.

What we’re doing to tackle drug-related crime

The cross-government strategy to tackle drugs – the Updated Drug Strategy 2002 – focuses on the most dangerous drugs, damaged communities and problematic drug users, who cause the most harm to themselves, their families and communities.

The strategy comprises four key strands:

  • reducing drug-related crime
  • reducing the supply of illegal drugs
  • preventing young people becoming drug users
  • reducing drug use and drug-related offending through treatment and support

Drug Interventions Programme (DIP)

The Drug Intervention Programme is the key element of the strategy to tackle drug-related crime. It offers offenders whose crimes are drug-related the support they need to kick the habit.

There is clear evidence that treatment works: for every £1 spent on treatment, at least £9.50 is saved in criminal justice and health costs. (Source: NTORS at two year: changes in substance use, health and criminal behaviour two years after intake. Dept of Health)

The DIP targets the areas with the greatest need – the areas of the country with the highest levels of drug-related crime. More than 1,900 drug-misusing offenders are entering treatment each month through the programme, and we are on track to achieve our objective to direct around 1,000 offenders each week into treatment by 2008.

Breaking the chain

If you are concerned about drug crime in your area – whether you are worried in general or have a specific problem you can contact your local Crime Prevention Officer (new window).

Or you may find the Frank website, which is aimed at young people, useful for tips and advice about drugs and addiction. You can also call the Talk to Frank helpline on 0800 77 66 00. For more information about drug policy and strategy, visit the cross-government drugs practitioners site drugs.gov.uk.

See also

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