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Drug offenses rise as crime declines during lockdown, ONS saysDrug-related crime rose 44% during the coronavirus lockdown in England and Wales compared to the same time last year, official figures have shown.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said police-recorded drug offenses increased 22% in April to 16,570 and 44% in May to 20,687.

This compares to 13,535 and 14,343 for the respective months in 2019.

The ONS report, released Wednesday, attributes this to “proactive police activity in prosecuting these crimes during the lockdown.”

He said the increases were largely due to drug possession offenses with “early indications” suggesting this was “particularly evident in London”, where Metropolitan Police had increased the number of stops and searches related to drugs during this time.

Overall, crimes recorded by police during the lockdown were 25% lower in April and 20% in May compared to the same period in 2019.

It also fell 5% in March compared to February, according to the report.

“There was a significant drop in crime at the height of the coronavirus pandemic in England and Wales,” said Billy Gazard, of the ONS Center for Crime and Justice.

“This was motivated by the reduction in theft offenses, especially home burglary and theft of personal property.

“As this period coincided with the majority of people spending long periods at home during confinement, this is not unexpected.”

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