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Publication, Part of

Statistics on Drug Misuse, England, 2019

Official statistics, National statistics

National Statistics

Part 5: Drug seizures

Please note: the data in this part has not been subject to an update since the Statistics on Drug Misuse 2018 (November update) publication

This part presents figures for drug seizures in England and Wales by the police (including the British Transport Police) and Border Force, taken from the Home Office publication: Seizures of drugs in England and Wales. 

The data relate to all drugs controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, which divides drugs into three categories (Classes A, B and C) according to the harmfulness they cause to the user or to society when they are misused.

Misuse of Drugs Act 1971

The number of seizures made can be affected by police activity and changes in recording practices, therefore the number of drug seizures each year should not be taken as a measure of drug prevalence in England and Wales.


Drug seizures in England and Wales

Total drug seizures by year

Police forces and Border Force made a total of 135,728 drug seizures in England and Wales in 2017/18, a 2% decrease compared with the previous year (139,019). This is the sixth consecutive annual fall.

For consistency, drugs are counted in their current classification for the entire time series shown.


Class A drug seizures by year

Cocaine was the most commonly seized Class A drug, with 52% of all Class A seizures involving this substance in 2017/18. There were 15,257 seizures of cocaine, up 2% on the previous year (14,892 seizures).


Drug seizures by authority

A large majority (95%) of drug seizures during 2017/18 were performed by the police.

They were responsible for over 95% of cocaine, crack cocaine, heroin, cannabis, and amphetamine seizures.


Drug seizure quantity by authority

Border Force seized relatively large quantities per seizure compared to the police.

They seized more than half of cocaine, ecstasy, amphetamines, herbal cannabis, and cannabis resin quantities.


For more data relating to this section:

Last edited: 8 July 2021 5:18 pm