Police cuts blamed for fall in drug seizures

Some seized drugs
Some seized drugs

Drug seizures by Greater Manchester Police have dropped by 65 per cent in the last 10 years, new figures show.

The Police Federation has warned that officers no longer have the resources to effectively combat drugs.

GMP carried out 4,432 drug seizures in 2017-18 – down from 12,581 in 2007-08, when they peaked.

It means there were 1,584 seizures for every million people in the area, compared to an average of 2,199 for England and Wales.

The most commonly confiscated drug was cannabis, with 23,231 plants, 302kg of herbal cannabis and 102kg of cannabis resin seized.

Heroin (120kg), cocaine (93kg) and benzodiazepines (66,766 doses) were also confiscated in significant quantities. England and Wales’s 43 police forces and Border Force carried out 136,000 seizures during 2017-18.

It was a drop of two per cent on the previous year, and the lowest annual number since 2004.

Simon Kempton, the federation’s operational policing and drugs lead, said: “It is no coincidence that we have lost nearly 22,000 police officers since 2010 – it’s a simple fact that you just can’t do more with less. Along with a pinch on resources against a background of austerity, drugs squads have been disbanded, and those that are still operational are having to multi-task and focus on other things as well.”

A Home Office spokeswoman said: “Drugs can devastate lives, ruin families and damage communities. The Government is taking this seriously and is committed – through three key strategies backed by millions of pounds of funding – to tackling the illicit drug trade, protecting the most vulnerable and helping those with a drug dependency to recover and turn their lives around.”