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Drugs: Sentencing

Volume 497: debated on Monday 12 October 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many people have been (a) arrested and (b) sentenced for drug-dealing offences in Northern Ireland in the last 24 months. (289305)

In 2007-08 there were 736 persons and in 2008-09 there were 772 persons arrested for drug-dealing offences in Northern Ireland.

Conviction data for 2007 and 2008 are not available. In 2005 there were 149 persons and in 2006 there were 159 persons sentenced for drug-dealing offences in Northern Ireland.

Data for arrests relate to the offence for which a person is initially charged while data for convictions relate to the offence for which a person is tried. Not all persons arrested for drug-dealing are tried for this particular offence; for instance, if there is insufficient evidence persons may be tried for a lesser offence, such as drug possession.

Both data for arrests and convictions are collated on the principal offence rule; only the most serious offence with which an offender is charged is included.