Home   Kent   News   Article

Drug offences in Kent increased by 38% during lockdown, according to the Office for National Statistics

As the majority of crimes committed across Kent dropped during the national coronavirus lockdown, offences related to drugs increased by more than a third.

Figures released today by the Office for National Statistics reveal a 38% increase in drug offences between April to June 2019 and April to June 2020.

The rise mirrors an upward trend across the UK
The rise mirrors an upward trend across the UK

The latter dates coincided with people across the county being urged to stay indoors and work from home, as the government tried to get a grip on the global pandemic.

According to the data 1,203 drug offences were recorded in Kent during that two-month period.

The increase in Kent follows a similar trend with other areas across the UK, most of which also saw drug offences rise as most other crimes fell.

A closer comparison between crime data recorded from June 2018/2019 and June 2019/2020 also shows a general upward trend.

Although this is also the case for most of the UK, drug offences rose by 33% in Kent, the fifth highest increase in the country.

Drug offences rose by 38% during lockdown in comparison with the same period in 2019. Picture: istock.com
Drug offences rose by 38% during lockdown in comparison with the same period in 2019. Picture: istock.com

The only areas which saw a higher rate than Kent were Essex, London, Merseyside and Cleveland.

It comes as Kent Police attempt to curb the prevalence of county lines and gangs operating across the county.

County lines sees London gangs run Class A drugs into commuter towns to find new markets.

In September 37 people were arrested by Kent Police, with 40 charges linked to the distribution of heroin and crack cocaine.

Deputy Chief Constable Tony Blaker said: "We always welcome a reduction in crime in Kent and officers and staff work hard to try and achieve that every year, but we do recognise that this timeframe does include the period of national lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Deputy Chief Constable Tony Blaker
Deputy Chief Constable Tony Blaker

"The latest data published by the Office of National Statistics shows an 8.4% decrease in Kent - the equivalent of 16,489 offences - in overall crime with decreases in both violence against the person offences - 3,866 offences - and victim-based crime categories - 14,764 offences - which cause significant distress to victims.

"Within the category of victim-based crime, there were falls in sexual offences - 15.3%, robbery - 16.6% and theft overall - 14%. Although this is encouraging, we will not rest on our laurels and remain committed to providing the best possible service across the county.

"Despite this overall decrease in crime we have seen an increase of 33.2% or 1,051 offences in drug related crime, which follows the national trend.

"Whilst there have been increases in drug, robbery and other crime types associated with potentially violent situations it is worth noting that they are all associated with gangs and county lines criminality - something we have been focused on targeting.

"The public should be reassured that Kent Police take a zero-tolerance approach to drug dealing and officers from the County Line and gangs team take robust action against criminals who enter the county to attempt to deal illegal substances.

He added: "Although overall crime has reduced, day-to-day police work has not stopped, and we are beginning to see demand on our resources return to pre lockdown levels.

"Our officers work every day to protect people using specialist skills within dedicated teams, ensuring victims and witnesses are at the heart of everything we do.

"These statistics provide a useful insight into how an organisation such as Kent Police is performing, but as always it is the people behind the data; the victims, the witnesses and our communities that are our focus and as a force we will continue our work to keep Kent safe."

To get the latest updates in ongoing cases, police appeals and criminals put behind bars, click here

Read more: All the latest news from Kent

Close This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.Learn More