Drug seizures across Manchester fall by 16% while police chief declares war on ‘addiction and its causes’

By Josh Nicholls

Drug seizures by Greater Manchester Police have fallen by nearly 2,000 in the past year, according to data released by the Home Office earlier this month.

The figures show a 16% drop in numbers from 11,024 drug seizures in 2011/2012 to 9,214 in 2012/2013 and represent significant progress for the police.

Tony Lloyd, Greater Manchester’s Police and Crime Commissioner, is keen to maintain this trend as law enforcers continue their ongoing battle with drugs across the area.   

“Drugs are one of the main drivers of crime and tackling this and the wider problem of organised crime is a priority for me and Greater Manchester Police,” said Mr Lloyd.

The commissioner cites the Operation Challenge initiative as integral to the forward steps the police have made in the last 12 months.

A scheme which sees the police, local councils and other agencies work in tandem to tackle organised crime groups across Greater Manchester, Operation Challenge has led to the seizure of thousands of pounds worth of drugs over the past year.

“This is partnership working in action and shows that only by working together, listening to and, most importantly, acting on information from local people can we build safer communities,” Mr Lloyd added.

“We also need to tackle the root causes of crime and there’s a lot of work going on to tackle the causes of drug addiction.”

Mr Lloyd was here referring to the endeavours of Greater Manchester’s numerous drugs and alcohol services which aim to rehabilitate those with drug problems back into their communities and prevent them from reoffending.

Although the war is far from won, this latest batch of statistics is encouraging for Mr Lloyd and his colleagues, as indeed were the Home Office figures on a national scale.

Seizures of cocaine, heroin and cannabis all fell and the number of ecstasy doses obtained by the police fell from 655,000 to 434,000 between 2011/2012 and 2012/2013.

Bizarrely the little-known Dyfed-Powys police force responsible for Welsh areas Ceredigion, Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire and Powys, had a rate of 6,521 seizures for every million in the population in 2012/2013.

This gave the little-known Welsh constabulary the highest concentration of drug seizures in England and Wales, aside from London’s vast Metropolitan police force.  

Image courtesy of ilcountz via Flickr, with thanks.

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