A police force has denied ordering officers to stop logging intelligence about drug dealers because they had already hit the annual arrests target.

The HM Inspectorate of Constabulary claimed two divisions within North Wales Police were "instructed" not to enter the information on the force computer, as further arrests would lead to a higher target the following year.

The report states: "In at least two of the operational divisions, officers were instructed not to put any more intelligence about drug dealing on to the system because they had achieved their annual target for arrests.

"More intelligence requires more pro-activity, which would lead to more arrests and the imposition of a more demanding target for the next performance year.

"This instruction has now been withdrawn, but reflects a worrying aspect of performance culture."

The force is led by Chief Constable Richard Brunstrom, who has been criticised in the past for his crusade against speeding motorists and a relatively liberal attitude to drug policy.

But a force spokesman said the information within the report was based on individual officers’ perceptions, and not official policy. He said: "North Wales Police exceeded its arrest target for illegal drug supply by 60 per cent during 2005/6.

"The comments contained in the inspection report were obtained during staff interviews and are based on individual perceptions rather than force or divisional policy.

"We do not rest on our laurels."

The report was generally favourable to North Wales Police, revealing that burglary was down by 19 per cent and vehicle crime down by 22 per cent.