Attorney-General Questions: Drugs: Prosecutions

Emily Thornberry: To ask the Attorney-General how many prosecutions the Crown Prosecution Service has carried out for drug possession and supply offences in each of the last five years, by each class of illegal drug.

The Solicitor-General: Supply and possession of drugs offences are prosecuted under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. The records held by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) identify the number of offences in which a prosecution commenced and reached a first hearing in magistrates courts, rather than the number of defendants prosecuted. The following tables, therefore, show the number of offences, rather than defendants, charged for supply and possession offences for the last five complete financial years. Offences for possession with intent to supply have been separated out for clarity.

Class A SupplyPossession with intent to supplyPossession

2007-08

10,428

8,104

20,103

2008-09

10,755

8,829

21,749

2009-10

8,826

8,251

19,367

2010-11

8,181

7,880

17,680

2011-12

7,253

6,959

15,585

Class B SupplyPossession with intent to supplyPossession

2007-08

1,225

3,828

28,300

2008-09

1,385

4,735

35,860

2009-10

1,501

5,287

42,863

2010-11

1,844

6,716

47,901

2011-12

2,212

7,286

47,979

Class C SupplyPossession with intent to supplyPossession

2007-08

485

1,087

6,278

2008-09

545

1,214

6,698

2009-10

385

1,043

3,945

2010-11

303

1,016

4,953

2011-12

354

1,149

5,081

There is no indication of the final prosecution outcome, or if the charged offence was the substantive charge at the time of finalisation. It is also often the case that an individual defendant is charged with more than one offence.

In addition to the offence of supplying a controlled drug, the offences of offering to supply, being concerned in the supply and being concerned in offering to supply a controlled drug are also included.