During 2017, approximately 100,000 offences under the Drug Penalties Act were reported. During the most recent ten years, the number of reports have increased by 28 per cent.
Number of reported drug offences, 2008 – 2017. Source: Reported offences
In 2017, the number of reported offences under the Drug Penalties Act increased to 100,000 offences (+11 % as compared with the preceding year). During the most recent decade, the number of drug offences increased by 28 per cent. The number of reported drug offences increased steadily until 2013, after which it declined up until 2016. Drug offences are among the categories of offence where the number of reported offences is highly dependent on police surveillance and intervention activities.
Person-based clearance rate²) for drug offences, 2006 – 2015. Source: Processed offences
In 2015, 95,700 drug offences (sections 1-3 of the Drug Penalties Act) were processed.¹) Investigations were commenced for 96 per cent (92,100) of the processed offences, while 4 per cent (3,550 offences) were dismissed with no investigation.
Investigations were limited for 9 per cent (8,680 offences) of the processed drug offences. Of those, investigation was limited in almost all (8,660 offences) after an investigation was commenced.
There was one person reasonably suspected of the offence in 92 per cent (87,800 offences) of the processed offences. Drug offences are most often detected through the police's surveillance work, and, in most cases, a perpetrator has already been identified at the time of the police report. As a result, a large percentage have person-based clearances. In total, 50,700 offences in 2015 had person-based clearances.
The person-based clearance rate² for processed drug offences in 2015 was 53 per cent.
Number of persons suspected of drug offences, 2006 – 2015. Source: Persons suspected of offences
As is the case with road traffic offences, the number of persons suspected of drug offences is highly dependent upon the efforts of the police, customs authorities, and other justice system public authorities. During the 2000s, police efforts in the area intensified, which had a breakthrough effect in both the number of reported and cleared offences, as well as on the number of persons suspected of offences. In 2015, 28,500 persons were registered as suspected of drug offences, which is an increase of 361 persons, or 1 per cent, as compared with 2014. As compared with 2006, the number of persons suspected of drug offences has increased by 42 per cent.
Number of conviction decisions of offences under the Drug Penalties Act as the primary offence, 2008 – 2017. Source: Persons found guilty of offences
In 2015, there were 21,400 conviction decisions³) of offences under the Drug Penalties Act as the primary offence. This is a reduction by 0.5 per cent, or 59 decisions, as compared with the preceding year. The number of conviction decisions regarding ordinary level drug offences and aggravated drug offences are, essentially, at the same level as during 2014.
As compared with 2006, however, there has been a 53 per cent (7,440 decisions) increase. The primary increase has been in conviction decisions in respect of minor drug offences, which increased by 62 per cent, or 6,860 decisions, in ten years.
Drug offences are typically a surveillance crime and, in normal cases, the number of conviction decisions in respect of drug offences is largely explained by changes in, above all, police resources and prioritisation.
¹) The statistic for processed offences reports the number of reported offences where the police, public prosecutor, or other investigatory authority has taken a decision regarding the offence.
²) Person-based clearance means that a person suspected of the offence has been tied to the offence through an indictment, the issuance of a summary sanction order, or the issuance of a waiver of prosecution.
³) The statistic regarding persons found guilty of offences reports the number of convictions which were issued during the year. "Conviction decision" means a conviction in a district court or decision of a public prosecutor, such as a summary sanction order or waiver of prosecution, during one calendar year. A single individual may be found guilty of an offence in different ways and on several occasions during one year. A conviction decision may contain decisions regarding several offences and several sanctions.