Drug detections in Victoria Police’s Eastern Division region are up by more than 12 per cent.
The findings were presented during a CommSafe meeting in Bairnsdale last week, which included East Gippsland’s senior police officers.
However, police are keen to point out that the increase in detections doesn’t necessarily equate to a spike in drugs on the streets of East Gippsland townships.
Divisional Area Commander, Superintendent Simon Humphrey, said more effort had gone into catching those involved with drugs. “It doesn’t mean drug use is up or there are more drugs in the community, but there is more focus on detection,” he said.
Superintendent Humphrey said a divisional task unit had been set up in February of this year with four police members assigned.
“The unit was set up specifically to focus on drugs,” he said.
The main role of the unit is to target high risk offenders and act on information provided by the community in relation to drug activity.
All illicit drugs are being targeted, including ice, methamphetamine and cannabis.
“Our sense is to focus on people selling drugs,” Superintendent Humphrey said.
“We are reliant on community information; a lot of our intelligence comes from the community.
“We’d keep encouraging the community to report any suspicious activity, something that they may have witnessed for example.” The four members assigned to the special unit have a broad charter in going about their detection work and will also carry out some of their duties in uniform.
Superintendent Humphrey said drugs were an issue in all regional areas and were often an extension of other crimes, such as thefts.
He said thefts of vehicles and thefts from cars have dropped over the past 12 months in the East Gippsland region.
IMAGE: Police Division Area Commander, Superintendent Simon Humphrey. K912-1