The Border Force made the highest number of drug seizures on record in the year 2022-23, according to the latest Home Office figures.
There were almost 26,000 seizures made, an increase of almost a quarter on the previous year, involving more than 90 tonnes of illegal drugs – including more than 15 tonnes of cocaine. Almost 3.5 tonnes of cocaine were also seized separately by the police.
Border Force officials have seized more than 9 tonnes of cocaine every year for the last three years, the Home Office states, the result of ‘bigger intelligence-led seizures’. Cocaine seizures across Europe are now at record levels, with more than 300 tonnes seized in EU member states in 2021, according to last year’s EMCDDA figures (https://www.drinkanddrugsnews.com/record-cocaine-seizures-across-europe/). Most cocaine enters the continent via ports such as Antwerp and Rotterdam.
Global production of the drug has surged in the post-COVID years, with the most recent analysis by UNODC finding a 35 per cent increase in coca cultivation between 2020 and 2021 (https://www.drinkanddrugsnews.com/global-cocaine-production-sees-dramatic-increase-says-unodc/).
‘We are committed to stopping dangerous drugs from coming into the country, where they fuel violence and exploitation and cause significant harm to our communities,’ said border minister Tom Pursglove MP. ‘Today we’ve seen a record level of seizures demonstrating that police and Border Force are working relentlessly to stop illegal drugs from coming into the country and keep them off our streets.’