Number of Seizures and Quantities of Drugs Seized
- There can be considerable fluctuation in the quantities of drugs seized over time and the quantities seized do not necessarily move in line with the number of seizures made. Whilst most drug seizures consist of relatively small quantities (usually possession related crimes and offences), annual quantities of drugs seized can be greatly influenced by a small number of large seizures (usually trafficking offences and crimes).
- It was identified that some seizures of more than one type of drug were not counted as a single seizure in the data supplied by Police Scotland. This issue has no impact on the individual number of seizures by drug type (available in Tables 2,3 and 4 of the associated excel spreadsheet) and a limited impact on the number of seizures by drug class (shown in Table 1 below). However caution should be taken when interpreting the overall figure of 29,138 for total drug seizures in 2013-14 as this will include an element of over-estimation on seizures given the double counting of those instances where more than one type of drug was seized. Further information on this practice is available in the Annex. It should be noted that this has no impact on the quantity of actual drugs seized, as presented in this bulletin.
- Intelligence led operations against known drug dealers tend to result in a low number of seizures, but conversely the quantity of drugs seized and their value will be high. These high profile operations may result in greater disruption to the illicit drugs trade which, whilst having a positive effect, may reduce the number of seizures made. As such care should be taken when comparing quantities of drugs seized over time.
- Table 1 shows that there were, in total, 5,534 incidents which led to a seizure of a class A drug in 2013-14, a slight increase from 5,313 (+4%) in 2012-13.
- Police Scotland recorded a fall in the number of incidents that result in a seizure of class B substances from 22,185 to 21,168 (-5%). The number of seizures of class C substances has fallen 7% from 3,544 seizures in 2012-13 to 3,311 seizures in 2013-14.
|Drug Class||2010-11||2011-12||2012-13||2013-14||% change 12-13 to 13-14|
|Percentage of Total Seizures|
Class A drugs
- Table 2 shows that in 2013-14, Police Scotland reported that they had seized 142.8 kilograms (kg) of heroin compared to 80.4 kg in 2012-13. They also seized 124.3 kg of cocaine and 2.3 kg of crack cocaine in 2013-14. This compares to 281.3 kg of cocaine and 5.5 kg of crack cocaine in 2012-13.
|Ecstasy-type Substances||tablets (000s)||10.1||158.1||32.9||15.7|
- Just under 16,000 ecstasy-type tablets were seized in 2013-14. Seizures from ecstasy-type substances vary considerably year-on-year, ranging from 10,100 tablets in 2010-11 to 158,100 tablets in 2011-12.
- Over 9 litres of methadone was seized by Police Scotland in 2013-14. This is the lowest amount of methadone seized by the police since this current data collection began in 2010-11.
- Compared to other types of Class A Drugs, relatively smaller amounts of LSD and methylamphetamine (or "speed") were seized in 2013-14, in line with the small amounts seized in previous years of this collection. Just under a litre (0.7) of morphine was also seized in 2013-14.
Class B drugs
- Table 3 shows the quantities of class B drugs seized in 2013-14. A relatively larger amount of amphetamines (504.9 kg) was seized in 2013-14 compared to the amount seized each year between 2010-11 and 2012-13.
- The quantity of cannabis related drug seizures (also a class B drug) fell between 2012-13 and 2013-14, from 615.0 kg to 452.7 kg for herbal cannabis and from 1,707.0 kg to 367.8 kg for cannabis resin. The number of cannabis plants seized fell from just over 41,000 to just over 23,000.
- Compared to previous collections, a relatively larger quanitity of mephedrone was seized, increasing from 9.1 kg in 2012-13 to 66.8 kg in 2013-14.
Class C drugs
- Table 4 shows the quantities of class C drugs seized. Most class C seizures continue to be diazepam, with approximately 1.2 million tablets seized in 2013-14. This is a large increase from the 532,100 seized in 2012-13, however the amount of diazepam seized has fluctuated year-on-year since this current collection began in 2010-11.
|Anabolic Steroids||tablets (000s)||48.1||6.0||10.8||0.3|
|Other Benzodiazepines||tablets (000s)||1.0||7.3||11.1||9.8|
- Approximately 300 tablets of anabolic steroids and approximately 400 tablets of temazepam were seized in 2013-14.
Email: Alastair Greig
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