Drug crime in 2012

Police operations led to more drug dealers being caught in 2012.
  • Image, close-up of a cannabis plant.

    Illicit drug offences

    New Zealand Police recorded more ‘deal or traffic in illicit drugs’ offences in 2012 than in previous years. This was due to significant increases in offences to ‘sell/give/supply/administer/deal cannabis plants’, and to ‘supply/administer/deal methamphetamine/amphetamines’.

    The increase came after the New Zealand Police took a proactive approach to addressing drug offending. Examples of campaigns included: Operation National, which targeted indoor growers and cannabis dealers operating out of houses commonly known as drug dealing houses; and Operation Kelly, the national crime and cannabis operation which included aircraft searching for crops during growing season.

    Infographic, recorded offences for illicit drugs.

    Scene of crime

    Dwellings were the most-common scene for ‘deal or traffic in Illicit drugs’ offences to occur – the location of over half of these offences in 2012. In contrast, ‘possess and/or use illicit drugs’ offences most commonly occurred on a public road, street, or other public place. Other common scenes of illicit drug offences in 2012 included shops/ stores/supermarkets, schools/education institutions, factories/warehouses, and licensed premises.

    Infographic, Scene of crime for recorded drug offences.

    Age of apprehended drug offenders

    Of offenders apprehended for ‘deal or traffic illicit drugs’ offences in 2012, over half were aged 31–50 years. For ‘possess and/or use illicit drugs’ apprehensions, there was a more even spread of offenders across the 0–20, 21–30, and 31–50-year age groups.

    Infographic, drug offence apprehensions, by age.

    Along with having the highest frequency of ‘possess and/or use illicit drugs’ apprehensions in 2012, the 21–30-years age group also had the highest apprehension rate (the number apprehended per 10,000 people). In 2012, the rate for those aged 21–30-years was 47, more than twice the rate of any other age group.

    Illicit drug apprehension rates
    By age group
    Age group (years) Deal/traffic in illicit drugs Possess and/or use illicit drugs
    Apprehension rate
    0–20 5 21
    21–30 18 47
    31–50 2 21
    50+ 4 3
    Total 11 19

    Source: New Zealand Police and Statistics New Zealand

Public roads or places were the most-common place for 'using or possessing an illegal drug' offences.
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