This week's MP's column comes from Robbie Moore, Conservative MP for Keighley and Ilkley

DRUGS have been an issue across Keighley for too long. It’s time for action, and this week the government proved they were serious about getting to grips with the issue once and for all.

Keighley has sadly been a hotbed for drug dealing for far too long. I truly realised the scale of the issue just after my election in 2019. During one of my very first constituency surgeries, a man came to tell me about his son, who one day had come home from school and said ‘Dad, when I grow up, I want to be a drug dealer’.

That is a devastating testimony, and a terrible indictment for our town.

I saw the problems myself earlier this year too.

Earlier this year, I was at Cliffe Castle Park and saw teenage boys brazenly injecting themselves with drugs. The sad reality is that this is not a one-off incident. We all know that drug dealing is rife in our town – and we should not be afraid of tackling it.

The scale of the issue of terrifying. That’s why in recent months I’ve been lobbying hard in Westminster for extra funding, more resources, and further sentencing powers to tackle the drugs epidemic in Keighley.

This week, the Government announced the 10-year drugs strategy, which will aim to cut the cycle of addiction and repeat offending.

The Government has announced a record £780m to rebuild the drug treatment system, to ensure that once people are off drugs, they stay off drugs. Drug users carry out half of all thefts, robberies, and burglaries. It is so important that we end the cycle of addiction and drug related violence, and this money will no doubt go some way towards achieving that.

County Lines drug gangs cause a particular problem in Keighley – we closely border North Yorkshire, Lancashire, and Calderdale. Bordering two other local police areas, drug gangs can use our geographical position to get away with drug dealing which has previously gone undetected by the police. The Drugs Strategy includes a £300m investment to crack down on County Line supply chains, which will include increased police patrols, and more funding to bring drug dealers to justice. 

Bradford Council will also receive extra funding to combat drug and alcohol misuse, to ensure that there is better access to treatment, which is fast-tracked for the poorest and the most vulnerable. We must end cycle of drug dealing and consumption which fuels further crime.

The strategy builds on governments plan to back the police – with 619 extra police officers already recruited locally, which will help crack down on drug crime.

We need a zero-tolerance approach to drugs – and that means cracking down on middle class drug users too.  The casual use of drugs is just as bad and just as damaging as any other use. It fuels and funds the dangerous drug dealing criminals who supply drugs, and in the future, we should be as likely to see a drugs raid in Ilkley as we are in Keighley.

Drugs ruin towns, communities, and people’s lives. We need to see serious action in Keighley to tackle the scourge of drug dealers. I won’t stop fighting until they’re locked up and this issue is tackled once and for all.