Drug crime is increasing in many small towns and villages even as it falls significantly in city centres, the BBC has found.
Police data shows drug crimes in England and Wales have fallen by more than 50,000 in the past five years. But national averages hide a major shift in where drug crimes are being committed. It comes as the government pledged an extra £85m to prosecutors to help deal with a rise in violent crime. In the area around Westhumble in Surrey, which has a population of 649, drug crime has more than quadrupled in the past five years, from nine cases to 42. Surrey Police said the crimes involved cannabis possession and were not gang-related. But just 20 miles away in Westminster, central London, drug crime more than halved over the same period, from 4,041 to 1,832. The pattern is repeated in many other areas around the capital, a BBC analysis of police-recorded crime showed.