South Yorkshire Police record increase in lockdown drug offences

Drug offences increased during lockdown in South Yorkshire compared to the same period last year.

Wednesday, 17th June 2020, 11:30 am
Updated Wednesday, 17th June 2020, 11:30 am

Figures released by South Yorkshire Police under the Freedom of Information Act, show 720 offences were recorded by the force between March 23 and May 25 this year, compared to 593 for the same nine week period last year.

During the three months before lockdown 724 offences were recorded, suggesting an overall increase in drug crimes compared to last year.

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An increase in drug offences has been recorded by South Yorkshire Police during lockdown compared to the same period last year

Drug offences increased by 27 per cent across England and Wales despite the total number of recorded crimes dropping by a quarter, figures suggest.

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In total, 26 forces that provided drug offence data recorded a total of 25,297 drugs offences, including trafficking and possession, between March 23 and May 25 this year, compared with 19,840 in the same period in 2019.

There were 23,113 drug crimes recorded between January 20 and March 23 this year.

The latest total national figures for all crime reported by the National Police Chiefs' Council showed a 25 per cent drop in England and Wales in the four-week period to May 10.

Earlier this month, the Metropolitan Police reported that some drug dealers had started providing home deliveries as their trade took a hit during lockdown.

The force's commissioner, Dame Cressida Dick, said: “We know some of the drug dealers, both in county lines and beyond, have adapted the way they operate. They have had to.

“There has certainly been talk of more home deliveries to people's houses by those who are brave. That's certainly what my local officers are telling me, that they are seeing more of that.

“People who aren't going out are asking for the drugs to come to them. That's putting the drug dealers more at risk and making them more obvious.”

In the initial stage of lockdown, National Crime Agency director Lynne Owens said that dealers were trying to disguise themselves as key workers by wearing hi-vis clothing and operating from supermarket car parks.

Gangs expert Professor Simon Harding also suggested that they were dressing as joggers and using fake NHS ID badges to move around freely.