Less cocaine seized in Merseyside last year – as police forces see rises across the country

Less powder cocaine was seized by Merseyside Police in 2022-23 than the year before, new figures show.

Less powder cocaine was seized by Merseyside Police in 2022-23 than the year before, new figures show.

Across England and Wales the amount of cocaine seized by police forces doubled last year. However, fewer seizures by the UK Border Force meant there was an overall fall in confiscated cocaine.

Figures from the Home Office show 24 kilogrammes of powder cocaine were seized by Merseyside Police in 21 operations in the year to March 2023.

This was down from a year earlier, when 29.8 kilogrammes were seized.

Police forces across England and Wales have seen powder cocaine seizures double – 3,360 kilogrammes were seized in the year to March, up from 1,680 kilogrammes the year before.

This was cancelled out by a drop in seizures by the UK Border Force of nearly 1,900 kilogrammes, with 15,219 kilogrammes confiscated over the same period.

As a result, there was a small drop in the amount of cocaine taken from criminals last year – despite being the second highest volume on record.

National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for drugs, Chief Constable Richard Lewis, said the increase in seizures by police forces was "a real positive".

"By taking more drugs out of circulation, we are stripping organised criminals of their assets and preventing them from investing the profits into further, more dangerous and harmful crime," he said.

Mr Lewis continued: "Cocaine is a highly addictive substance and vulnerable users can often find themselves caught up in a dangerous cycle of exploitation – which is why there is also ongoing work to prevent drug use, highlight the dangers and empower our communities to report suspicious activity."

The figures include other illegal substances seized by police forces. There were 2,970 drug seizures by Merseyside Police last year, a rise from 674 the year before.

This included the confiscation of 44,639 cannabis plants, 3.8 kilogrammes of herbal cannabis and 3.6 kilogrammes of cannabis resin.

The force also seized 220 grams of crack cocaine.

Minister for crime, policing and fire Chris Philp said: "We will not relent when it comes to disrupting criminal enterprises and locking up those involved in this soulless trade. Today's stats speak for themselves, sending a clear message to criminals that they will be caught.

"This government takes a zero-tolerance approach to both supply and possession of illegal drugs and I am grateful to the dedicated Border Force and police officers for protecting our communities from these dangerous substances."