Seizures of cocaine and ketamine in the year to March 2022 reached the highest levels ever recorded, according to new figures from the Home Office and Border Force.
The amount of cocaine seized was up by 68 per cent to 18,767kg, while the quantity of ketamine seized increased by almost 900 per cent to 1,837kg.
Although police forces accounted for almost 90 per cent of the seizures, far higher quantities are confiscated by the Border Force in intelligence-led operations at ports and airports. More than 90 per cent of all cocaine and ketamine, and almost 80 per cent of heroin, was seized in this way.
Coca cultivation increased by 35 per cent between 2020 and 2021, according to a recent UNODC report, leading to a ‘dramatic’ increase in global cocaine production, while last year’s European drug report from EMCDDA said that cocaine availability in Europe had ‘rapidly bounced back’ following the disruption caused by COVID-19 and was already surpassing pre-pandemic levels.
The seizure figures for England and Wales are the first to cover a period following the publication of the 2021 drug strategy, the Home Office points out. £300m has been invested in ‘pursuing and closing down’ drug gangs and supply chains, alongside the £780m for treatment and recovery.
‘These seizures send a clear message to anyone prepared to smuggle illegal drugs into the country that we remain committed to tackle often violent and exploitative drug supply chains,’ said the Border Force’s chief operating officer Steve Dann.