Cleveland Police area sees second worst increase in drug-related crime in England and Wales

Drugs and drug-taking equipment
Drug-related crimes include possession, manufacturing and distribution of illegal substances. Credit: PA

Cleveland Police had the second-highest increase in England and Wales of recorded drug-related crime between 2018 and 2021.

In 2018/19, the force recorded 1,333 drug-related offences, but during the pandemic in 2020/21, that figure rose by more than 80% to 2,445.

Only Leicestershire Police had a higher increase, with 1,880 recorded drug-related crimes in 2018/19 and 3,453 in 2020/21, a rise of 83.67%.

Cleveland Police has confirmed that this is partly due to a rise in stop and searches conducted by the force during the pandemic.

Drug-related crimes include possession, manufacturing and distribution of certain illegal substances.

A Cleveland Police spokesperson said: "The force did see a rise in drug-related crimes, specifically possession and trafficking offences, during the pandemic.

"This rise coincided with a high number of proactive stop searches being carried out across Cleveland. Drug-related crime is heavily influenced by proactivity, ie more stop searches will result in more recoveries of drugs.

"The information compares a time when crime was very low to a time when proactive stop searches were very high during the pandemic.

"Arrest rates are generally high across Cleveland, not only in relation to drugs, which suggests proactivity in dealing with a very high crime rate within the force area."

Cleveland Police has the second-highest rate of arrests in the country, in 2020/21 there was a rate of 21 arrests per 1,000 people.

However, the force does have the highest rate of crime in England and Wales so it is expected that the arrest rate would also be high.

Humberside is the only force with a higher rate of arrests with 24 per 1,000 people. 

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