Steerpike Steerpike

Priti’s drugs war goes up in smoke

Home Secretary Priti Patel with Justice Secretary Dominic Raab at Cabinet. Credit: Matt Dunham – WPA Pool/Getty Images

One of the many things Priti Patel brought with her to the Home Office was a renewed focus on the ‘war on drugs’. Since her appointment in 2019, the Witham MP has made her distaste for substance abuse clear, accompanying police on house raids, deporting foreign dealers, declaring war on ‘county lines’ gangs and threatening ‘tough action’ on laughing gas. But is all that being let down by Dominic Raab and his colleagues over at the Ministry of Justice?

For the number of drug incidents in Britain’s prisons have skyrocketed by more than 350 per cent over the last seven years, with MOJ figures published this week showing the total recorded in Britain’s prisons has quadrupled from 4,469 in March 2014 to 20,295 in March 2021. The trend is disproportionately towards more potent substances too with the amount of Class A drugs found like cocaine, crack and heroin rising nearly tenfold from 292 in 2014 to 2,840 in 2021.

Cocaine is now particularly popular among Britain’s lags, being the second most common drug currently found in prisons. Figures for the Class A substance have soared over the aforementioned period from just 75 cases to 2,083; during that time cannabis usage has ‘only’ trebled from 1,142 to 3,292. At least the war on cannabis plants seems to be more effective: it is one of only three drugs less prevalent in prison now than in 2014, along with barbiturates and steroids.

Maybe time for the Home Secretary to have some stiff words with her colleague at the MOJ eh?

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