PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES

HOUSE OF COMMONS

OFFICIAL REPORT

Sixth Standing Committee on Statutory Instruments, &c.

DRAFT CONFISCATION OF THE PROCEEDS OF DRUG TRAFFICKING (DESIGNATED COUNTRIES AND TERRITORIES) (SCOTLAND) AMENDMENT ORDER 1993

DRAFT CRIMINAL JUSTICE (INTERNATIONAL CO-OPERATION) ACT 1990 (ENFORCEMENT OF OVERSEAS FORFEITURE ORDERS) (SCOTLAND) AMENDMENT ORDER 1993

Thursday 1 July 1993

LONDON: HMSO

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The Committee consisted of the following Members:

Chairman:Mr. Roger Sims

Adams, Mrs. Irene (Paisley, North)

Arnold, Sir Thomas (Hazel Grove)

Beresford, Sir Paul (Croydon, Central)

Bowden, Mr. Andrew (Brighton, Kemptown)

Chisholm, Mr. Malcolm (Edinburgh, Leith)

Clarke, Mr. Eric (Midlothian)

Connarty, Mr. Michael (Falkirk, East)

Forman, Mr. Nigel (Carshalton and Wallington)

Horam, Mr. John (Orpington)

Kirkhope, Mr. Timothy (Lords Commissioner to the Treasury)

Legg, Mr. Barry (Milton Keynes, South-West)

McAvoy, Mr. Thomas (Glasgow, Rutherglen)

McFall, Mr. John (Dumbarton)

Michie, Mrs. Ray (Argyll and Bute)

Monro, Sir Hector (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Scotland)

Montgomery, Sir Fergus (Altrincham and Sale)

Ross, Mr. Ernie (Dundee, West)

Tacey, Mr. Richard (Surbiton)

Dr. C. R. M. Ward, Committee Clerk

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3 Sixth Standing Committee on Statutory Instruments, &c. Thursday 1 July 1993

[MR. ROGER SIMS in the Chair]

Draft Confiscation of the Proceeds of Drug Trafficking (Designated Countries and Territories) (Scotland) Amendment Order 1993

10.30 am

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Scotland (Sir Hector Munro): I beg to move, That the Committee has considered the draft Confiscation of the Proceeds of Drug Trafficking (Designated Countries and Territories) (Scotland) Amendment Order 1993.

The Chairman: With the agreement of the Committee, it will be convenient to discuss at the same time the draft Criminal Justice (International Co-operation) Act 1990 (Enforcement of Overseas Forfeiture Orders) (Scotland) Amendment Order 1993.

Sir Hector Munro: The orders represent a further strengthening of the international co-operation available to combat the trade in drugs and to deprive those involved in this evil trade of their ill-gotten gains. The main purpose of the orders is to extend the list of countries and territories designated in the principal orders, which were made in 1991. The newly-designated countries represent those with which reciprocal agreements have recently been made. Similar orders were made in June last year. The draft orders are made under the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 1987 and the Criminal Justice (International Co-operation) Act 1990. They contain similar safeguards. In particular, the accused and third parties affected by an external order must have the opportunity to contest the order. These latest orders will bring the number of countries with which we can co-operate in tracing, freezing and confiscating the proceeds and instruments of drug trafficking to almost 100. That represents a considerable achievement by the international community and is part of the increasing network of countries working together to fight international crime.

10.32 am

Mr. John McFall (Dumbarton): I welcome the two orders. Last week I spent the whole of Friday visiting three drug projects in Glasgow and witnessed the destruction that takes place as a result of drugs coming on to the streets of Glasgow. From my contacts with people in the community and the police, it is obvious that at an official level—I include myself—we are unaware of the extent and 4 depth of the problem of drug-taking in Scotland. The fact that we now have reciprocal agreements with 100 countries is an important step forward. I wish to raise a couple of points on the trafficking of drugs into Scotland. There is a burgeoning trade with south American countries and coca from the fields of Peru and Ecuador appears on street corners in Glasgow and Edinburgh. Perhaps the Minister will comment on that. If he cannot do so this morning, perhaps he will write to me with information on the pathways by which drugs come to our main cities. Illegal drug use in Scotland is on the increase. I was speaking to the Scottish Drugs Forum last week. Using figures extrapolated from the Scottish Office Home and Health Department, it estimates that there are 8,000 to 12,000 problem drug misusers in Glasgow, 2,000 to 4,000 in Edinburgh and 1,000 to 1,500 in Dundee, the majority of whom inject drugs. It would be helpful if the Minister would fill in the background. I endorse fully the sentiments of the orders.

10.34 am

Sir Hector Monro: I am grateful to the hon. Member for Dumbarton (Mr. McFall) for his welcome of the orders. I appreciate, as I am sure does the Committee, the interest that he has taken in the matter in the west of Scotland, in particular by talking to the Scottish Drugs Forum, The issue is serious and that is why we are taking so much trouble internationally to try to reduce and eventually to stop drug trafficking. Fortunately, there is very little international drug trafficking in Scotland and most of the drugs that come to Scotland do so via the south of England on ships and aircraft. We are working very hard with Colombia. The Foreign Office has been in close touch to try to obtain an agreement and I hope that that will be achieved in the not too distant future. Meetings were held in March and are being followed through. If the hon. Gentleman requires more information, I shall be only too pleased to write to him.

Question put and agreed to.

Resolved,

That the Committee has considered the draft Confiscation of the Proceeds of Drug Trafficking (Designated Countries and Territories) (Scotland) Amendment Order 1993.

Draft Criminal Justice (International Co-operation) Act 1990 (Enforcement of Overseas Forfeiture Orders) (Scotland) Amendment Order 1993

Resolved,

That the Committee has considered the draft Criminal Justice (International Co-operation) Act 1990 (Enforcement of Overseas Forfeiture Orders) (Scotland) Amendment Order 1993.—[Sir Hector Monro.]

Committee rose at twenty-five minutes to Eleven o'clock.

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THE FOLLOWING MEMBERS ATTENDED THE COMMITTEE:

Simms, Mr. Roger (Chairman)

Arnold, Sir Thomas

Beresford, Sir Paul

Chisholm, Mr.

Horam, Mr.

Kirkhope, Mr.

Legg, Mr.

McFall, Mr.

Monro, Sir Hector

Montgomery, Sir Fergus

Tracey, Mr.

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