Police in the South Coast Police District are calling for a significant increase in the number of officers dedicated to dealing with the district’s ice epidemic.
The Police Association of NSW (PANSW) has called for an additional 1185 police in Police Districts and Commands across the state to fight the the ice epidemic, which is destroying a generation of children and tearing families apart.
The association has also called for an additional 114 police designated to dedicated units to focus on interrupting the supply of the drug.
PANSW executive member Jason Hogan said in the South Coast Police District the association was calling for an additional 53 police, with 40 required across all stations in the Shoalhaven area, five required in the Batemans Bay area and eight across the Bega sector.
The staffing shortages are leaving smaller communities vulnerable, with first responders often having to cover huge areas.
“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 Hogan 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 our streets.
“That’s why we need additional police on our front line in the South Coast Police District – to deal with the hold ice has taken in our communities.”
The NSW Government has a choice – it can either sit back and watch while this drug continues to take hold of our communities, or it can listen to the police on the ground and deliver the additional resources we need to keep our streets safe.PANSW executive member Jason Hogan
He said a doubling of police numbers in the Regional Enforcement Squads, designed to disrupt and detect the manufacturers and suppliers of methylamphetamines was needed, with an extra 72 officers in regional NSW and 42 additional officers in the Sydney metropolitan area.
“The South Coast of NSW does not even have a Regional Enforcement Squad, meaning we lack the capability to target the dealers peddling this awful drug,” he said.
“The NSW Government has a choice – it can either sit back and watch while this drug continues to take hold of our communities, or it can listen to the police on the ground and deliver the additional resources we need to keep our streets safe.
“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 towns 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.
“Our communities are crying out for action, and all we as police are asking for are the resources we need to keep our communities safe.”
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 our streets.PANSW executive member Jason Hogan
The call for additional officers is part of the ‘Back the Blue’ campaign for 2500 extra police across NSW.
Mr Hogan is calling on the local community to support the call for more police by signing the petition at www.pansw.org.au.
“This really is about our local communities here in the South Coast Police District. We need the whole community to back our campaign for more police,” he said.