How many drug crimes are committed?

In 2011/12, there were just short of 230,000 recorded drug offences committed in the UK. The Office of National Statistics (ONS) collects data on the number of police recorded crimes committed each year. These figures will not represent all of the offences actually committed, since not all offences are detected. As the ONS make clear, to a certain extent, the more the police look for drug crimes, the more they find: “The number of drug offences recorded by the police is heavily dependent on police activities and priorities. As a result, changes over time may reflect changes in the policing of drug crime rather than real changes in its incidence.”

For 2011/12, the following numbers of drug crimes were recorded by police in England and Wales:


Number of offences

Trafficking in controlled drugs


Possession of controlled drugs (excluding cannabis)


Possession of controlled drugs (cannabis)


Other drug offences


Total drug offences