An increased supply of crack and cocaine coming out of Colombia is believed to be behind a surge in murders and robberies in Britain, a report says, as the country is grappling with a rising violent crime rate.
The Times of London, citing an internal document it obtained from Britain’s Home Office, reported that there has been a 42 percent increase in positive tests for cocaine on arrest in the past two years.
“We are now certain that drugs are playing an important role in driving up homicide, and it is highly likely to be affecting other serious violence too,” the newspaper quoted the document as saying.
The document, which was written in March and sent to Home Office ministers and senior staff, according to The Times, also says a better-than-expected recent coca harvest in Colombia is one of the key “drivers” behind the heightened supply of crack and cocaine coming through its borders.
“A surge in cocaine supply, driven by record production at source, caused a rise in crack purity and prompted drug-selling groups to seek out new markets,” the document reportedly says.
London’s annual murder rate – which is currently at more than 70 -- surpassed New York City’s for the first time in February, while there also have been on average 60 moped muggings in the British capital on a daily basis over the past year, according to the Times of London.
The newspaper says Scotland Yard has received 22,025 crime reports linked to scooters, mopeds and motorcycles in the 12 months leading up to May, a 50 percent jump from the year prior.
Britains’ Office for National Statistics also reported a 22 percent increase in knife attacks and 33 percent increase in robberies last year, it added.
“A toxic cocktail of a more aggressive and profitable drugs market in the context of eight years of austerity have created the conditions for violent crime to thrive,” Louise Haigh, a Parliament member, told The Times of London. “[The government] must invest in the police immediately to begin to undo some of the damage that taking 21,000 officers off our streets has done.”