Urgent police increase needed to stop 'ice terror'
POLICE on the north coast of NSW have said the district is dealing with an 'ice epidemic' and is calling for a significant increase in the number of officers dedicated to dealing with the issue.
The Police Association of NSW has released a list of crystal-meth regional hot-spots, and is calling for an additional 114 police designated to dedicated units to focus on interrupting the supply across the state.
Overall the Association is calling for an additional 1185 police in Police Districts and Commands across the state, including 221 frontline police for the north coast.
Executive member for the Northern NSW branch, Brett Henderson-Smith, said another 24 police are needed for the Regional Enforcement Squads based at Coffs Harbour and Tweed Heads.
"Every police officer knows how all-pervasive ice has become. It dominates our work, it has links to domestic violence, mental health incidents, road fatalities, youth crime, house and business break ins, organised crime and it is destroying lives. These are the symptoms of the prevalence of ice in our communities," Mr Henderson-Smith said.
"Local police are so stretched that they're drowning, just dealing with the symptoms of ice and users rather than focusing their efforts on the supply chain.
"All we can do at the moment is mop up the problems, rather than getting to the root of the issue and stopping the drugs before they hit out streets.
"That's why we need additional police on our front line in the north coast - to deal with the hold ice has taken in our community.
"Ice is a problem everywhere in the state, but our regional areas are shouldering the brunt of the scourge. If we're serious about tackling our ice problem, we need the resources to be able to focus on the drug dealers - the people pedalling this poison in our communities.
"Regional areas like ours need specialised, targeted plans and resources to deal with ice. When it comes to dedicated police resourcing to deal with drug crime, our regions are missing out."
The call for dedicated ice officers is part of the 'Back the Blue' campaign for 2500 extra police across NSW.
Mr Henderson-Smith is calling on the local community to support the call for more police by signing the petition at www.pansw.org.au.
Ice hotspots across the state
-Narrandera - Murrumbidgee Police District
-Broken Hill - Barrier Police District
-Gilgandra - Orana Mid Western Police District
-Edward River (Deniliquin) - Murray River Police District
-Cessnock - Hunter Valley Police District
-Moree Plains - New England Police District
-Warrumbungle Shire (Coonabarrabran) - Orana Mid Western Police District
-Tweed - Tweed Byron Police District
-Muswellbrook - Hunter Valley Police District
-Goulburn Mulwaree - Hume Police District