THE number of children arrested for drug crimes in Essex since 2015 has been revealed.

A Freedom of Information request to Essex Police shows more than 1,000 drug arrests have been made on children under 18 since 2015.

The data shows that 2019 had the highest numbers of arrests with 242 cases, followed closely by 2020 with 239 arrests.

The data also shows there have been 99 cases when police attended primary and secondary schools in Essex to confiscate illegal drugs.

The most common drug in children's possession was cannabis, with 86 of these police callouts being related to that drug.

There were also two cases of a child possessing amphetamine, MDMA and cocaine.

In a breakdown by gender, the police data shows that 20 female suspects were identified in relation to these drug crimes, and 74 had male suspects, totalling 94.


The police said that number of suspects identified is less than the number of crimes due to the quality of crime recording, and that these data inconsistencies have been highlighted to the force.

A spokesman for the police said: "Every effort is made to ensure that figures provided are accurate and complete, however, Essex Police systems are designed primarily for the management of individual cases and not primarily for the production of statistical information. 

"Please note although data can be extracted from a number of sources via database queries the results are subject to inaccuracies inherent in any large scale recording system and could also be inaccurate as a result of free text entry fields.  

"Care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when interpreting data."