Drug seizures and offender characteristics: 2014-2015 and 2015-2016

Statistical bulletin on drug seizures recorded by Police Scotland in 2014 to 2015 and 2015 to 2016.

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Drug Seizures and Offender Characteristics, 2014-15 and 2015-16

This bulletin presents Official Statistics on drug seizures made by the police in Scotland, and the characteristics of those found in possession of drugs in 2014-15 and 2015-16. These statistics relate to drugs controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, which divides drugs into three classes, namely A, B and C. For the purpose of this bulletin, the drug classifications at the end of the reporting period, 31 March 2016, have been applied to the data.

Key Points

  • The quantity of drugs seized can fluctuate considerably each year and does not necessarily move in line with the number of seizures made. Whilst most drug seizures consist of relatively small quantities (usually possession-related crimes), annual quantities of drugs seized can be greatly influenced by a small number of large seizures (usually from supply-related crimes).
  • For crimes of drug supply, the main Class A drugs seized by Police Scotland in 2015-16 were heroin (74.0 kilograms), cocaine (82.7 kilograms) and crack cocaine (4.2 kilograms). In addition to this they also seized approximately 13,400 ecstasy-type tablets.
  • Again for crimes of drug supply, the main Class B drugs seized by Police Scotland in 2015-16 were herbal cannabis (413.9 kilograms) and cannabis resin (570.4 kilograms). They also seized nearly 31,400 cannabis plants. For Class C drugs, the main drug seized was diazepam or other benzodiazepines (approximately 1.3 million tablets).
  • A sample of drug possession crime across 2014-15 and 2015-16 found that nearly two thirds of drug possession crimes involved cannabis, with diazepam being the next most common type of drug seized.
  • The vast majority of drug possession offenders were male. The average age of an offender was 30 years old, with the majority (65%) being between 20 and 39 years old. 16% of offenders were under 20 years old and 19% were 40 years old or older.

Drug Possession Crime in Scotland, 2014-15 and 2015-16

Based on a sample of 800 crimes, the following was found:

Who were the offenders?

  • 86% were male.
  • Average age of 30.

What type of drugs were seized?

  • 45% of seizures were herbal cannabis.
  • 19% were cannabis resin.
  • 13% were diazepam.
  • 8% were cocaine.
  • 5% were heroin.

Where was the crime discovered?

  • 48% of drug possession crimes were discovered in the street.
  • 27% were discovered in a home or garden.

Other features on the police records:

  • 37% of records had more than one crime recorded.
  • % of records mentioned that someone was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • 5% of records mention NHS involvement.


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