Police take intelligent approach to drugs
Great Southern police have scored a win in their battle against illegal drugs in the region after an increase in the number of charges in the past six months.
Drug offences have soared by 129 per cent compared with the same period in 2013-14, according to the latest statistics for the Great Southern police district.
Albany acting Senior Sergeant Michael Russell said the rise was because of an increased use of intelligence-led policing.
“We use a lot more intelligence from Crime Stoppers and information we get from other offenders,” he said.
“Basically, information we get from any source, we weigh it up and if the evidence is there to justify a search warrant, we’ll execute a warrant and take it from there.
“The Great Southern has placed a high priority on drug offences because it is prolific across the district, as it is across the whole State.”
Acting Sen. Sgt Russell said stations in the district — stretching from Albany to Corrigin in the north, Hopetoun in the east and Walpole in the west — had increased drug days of action where they are required to provide a search warrant based on drug intelligence.
Katanning has seen 99 drugs charges for the year to date, compared with 53 at the same time last year.
Katanning Sergeant Lindsay Pankhurst said social acceptance of drugs was fuelling the problem.
“There seems to be more of a social acceptance of harder drugs, namely amphetamines or ‘ice’, within the wider community, whether it be Katanning, the Great Southern, the Perth metro area or any other region within WA.
These drugs are prevalent in all areas and walks of life,” he said.
Drug trafficking charges have increased by 76 per cent, while drug possession charges have increased 143 per cent in the region.
Acting Sen. Sgt Russell said the increased action was reducing the number of drugs in the area.
“We’re not really seeing an increase in the quantity or quality of the drugs coming into the region,” he said.
“In fact in some areas it’s drying up. We’ve intercepted a number of couriers who tried to get into the area.”
Acting Sen. Sgt Russell said drug offences had a flow-on effect for other offences.
“We know that overall when we get a high penetration of drug offences, they do impact on burglaries,” he said.
“There’s definitely a correlation between the two.”
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