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News Archives: Index

October 7, 2010: Probation Set For Industrial Action

October 5, 2010: Turning Prisoners Into Taxpayers

October 4, 2010: Murder Changes Now In Force

September 20, 2010: Probation Programmes Face Cuts

August 24, 2010: Victorian Poor Law Records Online

August 10, 2010: Justice Job Cuts

July 28, 2010: Prison Violence Growing

July 22, 2010: Police Numbers: Latest Figures

July 22, 2010: New Jurisdiction Rules

July 16, 2010: CCJS On Prison And Probation Spending Under Labour

July 15, 2010: Latest Statistics On Violent And Sexual Crime

July 15, 2010: Latest National Crime Figures

July 15, 2010: New Chief Prisons Inspector

July 14, 2010: Hard Times Ahead For Prisons: Anne Owers

July 14, 2010: Prison Does Not Work: Ken Clarke

July 13, 2010: Criminal Justice Reform: Sentencing and Rehabilitation

July 13, 2010: Criminal Justice Reform Priorities

July 12, 2010: What Price Public Protection, Asks Probation Chief Inspector

July 12, 2010: NOMS has failed, says Napo

July 10, 2010: IPCC To Investigate Death of Raoul Moat

July 9, 2010: Women In Prison: New Report

July 9, 2009: Unjust Deserts: Imprisonment for Public Protection

July 8, 2010: Police Search Powers Change

July 7, 2010: Make 'Legal High' Illegal, Says ACMD

July 2, 2010: Failing Children In Prison

July 2, 2010: Police Buried Under a Blizzard of Guidance: HMIC

July 1, 2010: Freedom To Change The Law?

June 30, 2010: A New Outlook On Penal Reform?

June 30, 2010: Revolving Door Of Offending Must Stop, Says Clarke

June 30, 2010: Ken Clarke: Speech on Criminal Justice Reform

June 29, 2010: No More Police Targets

June 26, 2010: Family Intervention Projects Questioned

June 25, 2010: Cutting Criminal Justice

June 24, 2010: Napo on Sex Offenders Report

June 23, 2010: Closing Courts: The Cuts Begin

June 23, 2010: Strategy To Tackle Gangs

June 15, 2010: Courts and Mentally Disordered Offenders

June 8, 2010: Working With Muslims in Prison

June 1, 2010: Your Chance To Nominate a QC

August 25, 2005: New Drug Seizure Figures

The Home Office have just published Research Findings 265 on Seizures of Drugs in in England and Wales, 2003 by Mwenda, Ahmad and Kumari. This research provides figures for drug seizures made by law enforcement agencies during 2003 – the statistics relate to drugs controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.

The drugs are divided into three categories in the Act (classes A, B and C) according to their harmfulness. These statistics cover seizures made during the year by police (including the British Transport Police but excluding Nottinghamshire Police Force, from whom no data was received in 2003), together with information from HM Revenue & Customs (formerly Customs & Excise) and the National Crime Squad.

The research presents data for England and Wales only and is therefore not comparable with the previous Drug Seizures statistical publications which presented data for the whole of the UK. While cannabis was reclassified as class C in January 2004, the data here is for 2003, so cannabis is reported as a class B substance.

There were 30,000 seizures in England and Wales involving class A drugs in 2003 (5% more than in 2002). Heroin was the most commonly seized class A drug in 2003 (10,570 seizures, down 16% since 2002) followed by cocaine (6,910 seizures, up 20%), ecstasy (6,110 seizures, down 8% since 2002) and crack (4,760 seizures, up 15%). A small number of seizures involved methadone and LSD (530 and 120 seizures respectively). Overall, 95% of drug seizures in 2003 were made by local police forces, fewer than 5% by HM Revenue & Customs and less than 1% by the National Crime Squad.

Key points from Mwenda et al's research:

  • There were 109,410 drug seizures by police and HM Revenue & Customs in England and Wales in 2003 – 4% fewer than in the previous year (114,550).
  •  77% of seizures in 2003 involved class B drugs (most – 94% – of which were cannabis seizures). 27% of seizures involved class A drugs and 1% involved class C.
  • Compared with 2002, in 2003 there were more class A seizures (up 5%); fewer class B seizures (5% fewer) and more class C seizures (up 6%).
  • Seizures by the police and HM Revenue & Customs in 2003, included:
    • 6.8 tonnes of cocaine
    • 2.7 tonnes of heroin
    • 6.7 million tablets of ecstasy
    • 1.5 tonnes of amphetamines
    • 99 tonnes of cannabis (resin and herbal) and 80,000 cannabis plants.
  • Police and HM Revenue & Customs seized a greater quantity of cocaine, heroin, ecstasy, amphetamines and cannabis in 2003 than in 2002.

Data on the average purity of different types of drugs is based on the average of all analysed drug samples submitted to the Forensic Science Service. The research notes that the purity from HM Revenue & Customs seizures is higher than that of the police force seizures, as their seizures are generally made higher up the supply chain and before ‘cutting’ occurs (defined by the authors as the addition of active agents to increase profit margins).

More detailed information can be downloaded from the Home Office Research Development and Statistics (RDS) website