Sniffer Dogs Could Be Deployed in UK Parliament as Cocaine Found Near PM’s Office, Report Says

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Transportation Security Administration K9 handler Melissa Ramos's explosive detection dog Willie plays with a toy - Sputnik International, 1920, 05.12.2021
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The news comes amid reports that the government will unveil a new strategy to combat drug crime, which has drastically increased in recent years. Last year’s report by the Office of National Statistics said three million people used illicit drugs in the UK, including cocaine.
Sniffer dogs could be deployed in the UK Parliament in a bid to tackle drug use, The Sunday Times reported, citing Sir Lindsay Hoyle, speaker of the House of Commons. He promised to call in the police after traces of cocaine were found at the heart of Westminster – in places accessible only to people with parliamentary passes.

Traces of the drug were also found near the private offices of Home Secretary Priti Patel and Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Separately, Tory MP Charles Walker, who chairs the Commons Administration Committee, told the newspaper that the issue of drug use among parliamentarians will be discussed in the House of Commons next week.

"The House of Commons has a long history of using sniffer dogs to detect explosives. It may be that we now need to broaden the range of sniffer dogs ... to include those which can detect drugs", he said.

The news comes amid reports that the government of Boris Johnson plans to unveil a new strategy to combat drug crime, which will include new punishments for drug users.

"We need to look at new ways of penalising them. They think it's a victimless crime. Well it isn't. We have got to say to them, look, you are helping to drive crime, you are helping to wreck lives and we can't as a society go on like this. What I want to see is a world in which we have penalties for lifestyle drug users that will seriously interfere with their enjoyment of their own lifestyles", Boris Johnson told The Sun.

Among the proposed measures is a revocation of offenders’ passports and drivers' licenses, imposition of night-time curfews, and travel bans. Other proposed measures under the new strategy include increased funding for addiction treatment and recovery services. During the summer, the government announced it would establish a new unit to prevent drug-related illnesses and deaths.

A 2020 report by the Office of National Statistics revealed that there we three million drug users across the United Kingdom. Last year, 4,561 drug-related deaths were registered, up 3.8% from the previous year.
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