War on ice: Call for 12 more police to target regional ice epidemic

ICE EPIDEMIC: Police Association of NSW representative Adam Piffarelli is calling for more police officers in Orange to help in battle against drugs. Photo: CARLA FREEDMAN 0911cfadampiffarelli1
ICE EPIDEMIC: Police Association of NSW representative Adam Piffarelli is calling for more police officers in Orange to help in battle against drugs. Photo: CARLA FREEDMAN 0911cfadampiffarelli1

An extra 12 police officers are urgently needed in Orange to tackle the region’s ice epidemic, according to the Police Association of NSW.

It included Orange on a list of crystal-meth regional hot spots in NSW saying the region was understaffed.

Police Association representative Adam Piffarelli said the state average for police was 205 officers per 100,000 people but in Orange the ratio was only 170 officers per 100,000 people.

“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,” he said.

“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.”

Mr Piffarelli said there had been three incidents involving ice-use in Orange in the past two weeks.

Two of them involved overdoses of the drug.

“In Orange the association is calling for an additional 12 police,” he said.

Mr Piffarelli said they also wanted a designated Regional Enforcement Squad, staffed by 18 officers, set up to track the source of drugs to the area.

Local police are so stretched that they're drowning.

Adam Piffarelli, Police Association

“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,” he said.

Mr Piffarelli said in Sydney police crews responding to ice situations could call for plenty of back-up.

“The city is flush with resources but [in Orange] it’s just us and no one is coming to help.”

He said at night if there was only one crew responding in Orange the nearest support had to come from Bathurst.

Mr Piffarelli said the big problem with ice was ‘it is so unpredictable.

“People are unable to control themselves, it’s just not like you can reason with them.”

He said it was not clear if the number of users or the prevalence of the drug was increasing in Orange.

“I feel like it is becoming more reported to us,” he said.

“Now people are aware of the dangers and are letting us know about it.”

The Police Association has set up a petition for people to sign at the Police Association’s website to ‘Back the Blue’ and call on the state government to provide more officers.

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