Police arrested almost 100 fewer people for drug offences in Harrogate than the previous year, despite just a 1 per cent drop in drug crime across North Yorkshire.
Figures obtained through a Freedom of Information request revealed that, in 2015, North Yorkshire Police made 147 arrests for drug offences in Harrogate compared to 245 the year before.
This represented a 40 per cent drop in arrests but across North Yorkshire as a whole there were only 20 fewer drug offences committed with 1,955 crimes committed in total.
While the number of drug offences across the country has dropped by 17 per cent compared to the previous year, down by 31,313, the number of arrests for this crime has only decreased by 12 per cent to 90,723 arrests by March 2015.
In the report published this month into Crime Statistics for England Wales, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said the number of drug offences recorded was ‘heavily dependent’ on police activities and priorities.
As a result, the ONS explained that a decrease in drug offences may ‘reflect changes in the policing of drug crime, rather than real changes in its incidence’.
Inspector Penny Taylor, of Harrogate Police, said that they are still determined to tackle drug offenders in the town, despite the drop in arrest numbers.
She said: “Drug dealing lines the pockets of criminals and causes untold misery in our communities.
“The number of arrests we make for drug offences will of course vary from year to year.
“However, the fact that we have made almost 600 arrests in Harrogate for drug offences between 2013 and 2015 is a testament to our determination to bring those involved to justice.”
Inspector Taylor stressed that the community played an important part in the police’s ability to identify drug dealers operating in Harrogate and across North Yorkshire.
The figures also revealed that the amount of people charged or summonsed after being arrested on drug offences had dropped by 10 per cent compared to the year before.
Of the 147 people arrested in Harrogate for drug offences just 36 were charged or summonsed. However, in 2014, 84 of the 245 people arrested for drug offences were charged.