More than 2600 incidents involving illegal drugs within school grounds were reported to police in England and Wales in a 4-year period, according to figures obtained by the Press Association. The vast majority of drug offences involved cannabis, but there have also been cases with Class A substances.
The Freedom of Information request to 23 police forces in England and Wales found that between 2016 and 2019 the number of school-related drug offences rose by more than a quarter. In total, 2643 incidents were reported, although the actual figure is thought to be higher as some of the country’s biggest police forces did not release figures.
Schools and colleges are being urged to work more closely with police and other agencies as latest figures show pupils as young as nine have been caught with drugs on school premises, reports Sky News.
The National Police Lead for Children And Young People, Jo Shiner, stressed the need for more cooperation between education officials and other agencies to help tackle a growing problem.
The Deputy Chief Constable said: “There is evidence showing that more children and young people are believed to be using drugs. It is essential for schools and colleges to work in partnership with local officers, alongside youth and family support services, for support and advice and where required, operational intervention if a pupil or student is found to have brought drugs into school or college.”
Cannabis accounts for most school drug-related incidents
The Children’s Commissioner for England, Anne Longfield said: “We know that whilst this doesn’t paint a picture of a constant stream of drug deals taking place in the classroom, the numbers are still worrying. It proves how naive it would be to think drugs, associated with so many adult problems, aren’t present in some of our school age children. Sadly, too often we prefer to imagine they aren’t.”
Cannabis was reported in 92% of reported incidents, 1899 times between 2016 and 2019. The Class B drug is the most commonly used narcotic in the country. The ecstasy substitute MDMA was reported in 64 incidents and cocaine in 58 recorded offences. Heroin was recovered on school premises on nine occasions. Prescription drugs, including Diazepam, Ritalin and Tramadol were also reported.
Out of the vast majority of offences, 1779 were for drug possession. But at least 108 offences were linked to the supply of drugs.
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