Page last updated at 17:51 GMT, Thursday, 3 December 2009

MPs to go clubbing to investigate cocaine trade

Night club
The inquiry will look at ways to tackle the cocaine trade

MPs are to get a taste of nightclubbing when they take part in a fact-finding mission on the cocaine trade.

The Commons home affairs committee, led by Labour's Keith Vaz, will look at what goes on during "student nights".

Members will look at the latest cocaine-detecting technology and talk to anti-drugs campaigners.

Labour MP Gwyn Prosser has already spent time outside a nightclub in Maidstone, Kent, as part of the committee's preliminary research.

The London visit is scheduled for next Wednesday.

'Limbo dancing'

Mr Vaz, MP for Leicester East, is set to be joined by Patrick Mercer, the Tory MP for Newark and Retford.

The student nights are of interest because technology, such as scanners to detect cocaine and "knife arches", is in use.

Mr Vaz said: "This [cocaine dealing] is a very, very serious crime and what we want to do is make sure is that the police get as much help as possible.

"A lot of cocaine gets to young people through pubs and clubs."

Mr Prosser, MP for Dover, said of his visit to Maidstone: "The strategy is all about deterring the sale of drugs. It's made quite clear to the nightclubbers that it's going on.

"What struck me was that the young people seemed very happy to go through the scanners and that they wanted a night free of the problems you get with drugs."

The committee also took part in a night-time walkabout in Hackney, east London, last year, after the then Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, admitted she would not feel comfortable walking around the area after dark.

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