THERE have been more than 300 drug-related arrests on Bridgwater police beats in the last four years.

Information obtained from a Freedom of Information request made by the Bridgwater Mercury shows that the number of arrests reduced significantly since 2018 in Bridgwater but is rising again so far this year.

In 2016 in Bridgwater there were 94 drug-related arrests, 41 of which were for the possession of cannabis, 21 for possession of other drugs and 32 were arrested for trafficking controlled drugs on Bridgwater beats.

These figures then rose in 2017, particularly in regards to the police arresting dealers.

There were a total of 111 arrests for drug-related offences in Bridgwater in 2017, 35 of which were for the possession of cannabis, 25 for drugs other than cannabis and 51 arrests for dealing that year.

However, these numbers dropped significantly in 2018. Then, the number of drug-related arrests went down to 54 overall: 26 cannabis possession arrests, 16 for drugs excluding cannabis, and 12 for trafficking controlled drugs.

However, this year, by July officers had already made 54 drug-related arrests - the same total as for the whole of 2018.

A total of 21 of these arrests were made for possessing cannabis, 14 for possession of drugs excluding cannabis and 19 for the trafficking of controlled drugs.

Since 2016, up to July 2019, there were a total of 313 drug-related offences in the Bridgwater area.

The figures for the Avon and Somerset Police district of Somerset West, which includes Taunton, Wellington and West Somerset show similar patterns, with the highest numbers of arrests in the last four years taking place in 2016 and 2017.

In the Somerset West area there have been a total of 1,542 drug-related arrests since 2016. Of these, more than a third (591) were for the possession of cannabis.

Due to a change in the crime recording system, Avon and Somerset Police were only able to provide figures from November 2015 onwards.