Comprehensive report highlights huge cost of substance misuse in the West Midlands

West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson has published a comprehensive and ground breaking report detailing the huge cost of subsstance misuse in the West Midlands. The report was discussed at the PCC's Strategic Policing and Crime Board on Tuesday 5th September.

Commenting on the report, West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson said:

"This report examines the impact of drugs in the West Midlands, which is costing an estimated £1.4 billion to the area each year. Drug-related crime, pressures on the health service, drug-related deaths and social care costs are over £60,000 a year for a heroin user.

"Despite the good work being done by many, collectively the policy is failing. This failure means the public put up with more crime, public services are put under more strain, and not enough is done to reduce the harm of those suffering from addiction.

"We have higher crime rates and there are more victims of crime because of the collective failure to tackle the issues surrounding drugs. In the West Midlands half of all burglary, theft, shoplifting and robbery is committed by people who use heroin, crack cocaine or powder cocaine regularly. This represents one in five crimes reported to West Midlands Police and tens of thousands of victims.

"Rough sleeping has tripled in the West Midlands and increased six-fold in Birmingham since 2010. Addiction can be both a cause and result of rough sleeping. We need to break the cycle of addiction to reduce the number of rough sleepers in our towns and cities.

"Every three days in the West Midlands somebody dies from drug poisoning, with a death every four hours in England. The harm and misery that drugs are causing is unacceptable. This misery is also a source of profit for organised crime that needs stamping out.

"I want to see safer streets and make the West Midlands an area where people are less likely to be victims of crime. Drugs at the moment are costing the region an estimated £1.4 billion a year - money that could be supporting our schools, hospitals or funding police officers. This is the cost of failure.

"Before the end of the year I will host a wide-ranging summit to discuss practical solutions to tackle the issue of drugs, crime and the harm that they cause.

"I will report back in the new year with deliverable proposals that I think can reduce the crime and harm that results from drugs in the West Midlands."

The report in full can be found here.