West Yorkshire Police seize record high haul of illicit drugs

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Drug seizures spiked in West Yorkshire last year, with police recording a record-high haul.

The Police Federation of England and Wales warned that a “proliferation of illicit drugs on the streets of the UK” is being used to fund serious crime, following the first rise in seizures across the two countries for seven years.

West Yorkshire Police recorded 6,046 drug seizures in 2018-19, according to figures released by the Home Office.

That was a rise of 14% compared to the previous year, and the highest number since records began in 2006-07. The figures mean there were 2,606 seizures for every million residents, higher than the rate of 2,432 per million across England and Wales.

Class A drugs – those considered to be the most harmful, such as heroin, cocaine and crack – accounted for 19% of seizures last year. The most frequently seized drug was cannabis (4,373) followed by cocaine (689).

Across England and Wales, the number of drug seizures increased for the first time since 2011-12. Police and border forces recorded 153,000 seizures, an increase of more than 16,000 in one year, but still far lower than the peak of 241,000 seen in 2008-09.

Simon Kempton, operational policing lead for the Police Federation, said the figures demonstrate “the importance of all law enforcement agencies in the UK working in a joined up way” to tackle organised crime.

He added: “These figures also reflect the huge amount of drugs which are available, as both prices and purity of drugs available on the street don’t seem to have been affected. This is a concern which underlines how there is a proliferation of illicit drugs on the streets of the UK.”