Publication - Statistics

Drug seizures and Offender Characteristics, 2018-2019 and 2019-20

An overview of the number of drugs possession and supply crimes and the quantities seized during 2018-19 and 2019-20. There are also details of the types of offenders, location, and how the crime was discovered for possession based crimes.

Drug seizures and Offender Characteristics, 2018-2019 and 2019-20
Key Points

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 2019-20 were heroin (223 kilograms) and cocaine (131 kilograms). Police Scotland also seized approximately 28,800 ecstasy-type tablets.
  • Again for crimes of drug supply, the main Class B drugs seized by Police Scotland in 2019-20 were herbal cannabis (921 kilograms), cannabis resin (649 kilograms) and amphetamines (143 kilograms). They also seized more than 33,000 cannabis plants.
  • For Class C drugs, the main drugs seized were 4.9 million benzodiazepine tablets (the vast majority of which were etizolam).
  • A sample of drug possession crime for 2019-20 estimated that 49% of drug possession crimes involved herbal cannabis or cannabis resin, with 14% for etizolam, 9% for cocaine and 8% for heroin.
  • In 2019-20, the vast majority of drug possession offenders were male (85%). The median age of an offender was 29 years old, with almost two thirds (63%) being between 20 and 39 years old.

Full page infographic summarising drug possession crimes in 2019-20. It is estimated that 41% of drug possession crimes invloved herbal cannabis, 14% for etizolam, 9% for cocaine and 8% for both heroin and cannabis resin. The vast majority of offenders were male (85%) and the median age of an offender was 29 (with almost two thirds (63%) being between 20 and 39 years old). The most common location for drug possession crimes to take place was the street or other open space (58% of crimes). An estimated 40% of drug possession crimes were detected by police while on routine patrol where officers had a suspicion or observed that the offender was in possession of drugs.


Contact

Email: JusticeAnalysts@gov.scot