30 Apr 2012

ACPO publishes UK national problem profile commercial cultivation of cannabis 2012

A national problem profile published today by the Association of Chief Police Officers shows the commercial cultivation of cannabis continues to pose a significant risk to the UK with increasing numbers of farms being detected by police

The problem profile, which is the third to be published since 2008, shows an increasing number of farms being detected; 7,865 projected for 2011/12 compared with 6,866 in 2009/10 when the last problem profile was published.

Key findings from the report include:

  • Over 1.1 million plants with an estimated street value of £207 million were recovered during the two-year survey period
  • The number of cannabis production offences continues to rise with 16,464 offences projected for 2011/12 up from 14,982 offences recorded in 2010/11
  • There is a shift back to smaller residential or domestic premises as opposed to large-scale commercial and industrial property
  • There is an emergence of the “multiple site” model whereby a large number of people are employed to manage small scale factories across multiple residential areas
  • Cannabis remains the most commonly used illegal drug in the UK and is the most prevalent drug seized by law enforcement agencies
  • Intelligence suggests the purchase of seeds and equipment from local hydroponics and head shops is on the increase. This may result in an increase in small-scale cultivations feeding social supply
  • The top five forces which recorded the highest number of commercial factories were West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, West Midlands, the Metropolitan Police and Avon and Somerset.

ACPO lead on cannabis cultivation Allan Gibson said:

“Commercial cannabis cultivation continues to pose a significant risk to the UK. Increasing numbers of organised crime groups are diverting into this area of criminality but we are determined to continue to disrupt such networks and reduce the harm caused by drugs.

“This profile provides a detailed analysis of the current threat from commercial cultivation of cannabis and the work undertaken by law enforcement agencies to combat the threat. It provides a framework to facilitate future planning and decision-making for preventative, legislative and enforcement activity to make the UK a hostile environment for cannabis cultivators.”

Notes to Editors

A copy of the report can be found here: http://www.acpo.police.uk/documents/crime/2012/20120430CBACCofCPP.pdf

For more information contact

ACPO Press Office
Association of Chief Police Officers
e: press.office@acpo.pnn.police.uk

The ACPO Press Office can be contacted via 020 7084 8946/47/48 (office hours) or via 07803 903686 (out of office hours).


The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) is an independent, professionally led strategic body. In the public interest and, in equal and active partnership with Government and partner agencies, ACPO leads and co-ordinates the direction and development of the police service in the United Kingdom. In times of national need ACPO, on behalf of all chief officers, co-ordinates the strategic policing response.


ACPO’s 295 members consist of 213 chief police officers from the home forces of assistant chief constable rank (commanders in the Metropolitan Police and City of London Police) and above, plus 55 senior police staff members from the 44 forces in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.  Non home forces such as British Transport Police have 24 chief police officer members and there are three members from the Service Police.