Drugs offences on the increase

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DRUG offences have gone up by 30 per cent in East Durham, latest figures show.

Police chiefs say the rise is due to “targeting people more effectively” and the public and being more willing to report incidents so officers can act on information.

There were 133 drugs-related offences in the Peterlee area from April last year to March this year, compared to the same period the year before, when the figure was 102.

The release of the end-of-year figures coincides with Inspector Dave Coxon’s first year in the job of leading the neighbourhood policing team based at Peterlee Police Station.

He said: “This doesn’t mean we have a great problem, it means we are targeting people more effectively.

“Now when we bring people in for drugs offences, either for cannabis growing or for intent to supply, suspects are telling us they are feeling the pressure and it is difficult to operate in the Peterlee sector, this is really encouraging.”

Insp Coxon said the increase was due to information being passed on by the public and partner agencies.

Overall crime in the Peterlee area has gone up by less than one per cent, from 3,508 last year to 3,523 this year, the report showed.

Insp Coxon said: “It’s about us being more pro-active and shows greater levels of detection.”

Looking ahead, Insp Coxon added: “I’m focused on continuing to make things difficult for those that act outside the law or to the detriment of our communities and will use all the skills available to me from Durham Constabulary employees and our wide range of partners under the Community Safety Partnership to improve the service we deliver over the next 12 months.”