Figures released today by the Central Statistics Office show that an average of six drug offences were committed every day during the past three months.

This is an increase of 25% on the same period last year.

The report - which covers July, August and September - also shows a rise in the number of false imprisonments and bank robberies.

Assault causing harm was also up by 7%, while cases of arson increased by over 23%.

Fine Gael and Labour have criticised the increase in headline crime.

Justice Minister Michael McDowell said anyone using recreational drugs was playing a part in drug crime.

However, there were decreases in sexual offences, thefts and burglaries.

46 people have been killed (murder or manslaughter) so far this year, two more than this time last year.

The figures were released today by the Central Statistics Office for the first time and are based on garda figures.