CENTRAL West Police District’s Orange officers are catching almost twice the number of people in possession of cannabis than amphetamines.
According to the latest Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research data, there were 132 recorded incidents of using or possessing cannabis in Orange in the 12-month period ending in March this year.
In the same stretch of time Orange police saw 72 incidents of people caught in possession of amphetamines, including ice.
That figure represents a significant drop on the city’s long-term figures: in the year ending September, 2015 Orange had 231 reported incidents of amphetamine drug use or possession.
When compared to the Central West’s other major centres, the data is both good and bad news.
Dubbo had a whopping 179 incidents of cannabis in the past year, while Bathurst had 112.
On the amphetamines front Dubbo police reported 71 incidents, while their Bathurst counterparts dealt with 42.
NSW Minister for Police Troy Grant said the statistics relating to drug possession remained a concern, however, he said the NSW government’s targeted plan to stamp out drug and support affected communities was working.
“Evidently crime trends vary throughout NSW, and thanks to the re-engineering of the NSW Police Force, police districts and area commands now have greater agility and flexibility to proactively target and disrupt specific crime types,” Mr Grant said.
NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller said police will continue to target organised crime networks responsible for the distribution of illicit substances through regular drug operations, including the use of drug dogs.
“Our focus is community safety and we won’t tolerate behaviour that risks the wellbeing of others,” he said.
As part of the re-engineering process, the NSW Police announced several specialist units including five new Regional Enforcement Squads.
The RES units are comprised of specially-trained police tasked to disrupt drug supply and target gun crime, as part NSW Police Force’s commitment to providing specialist resources to regional areas.
Cocaine-related arrests also saw a significant jump across the state, with the number of arrests for possession rising by a staggering 46 per cent.