ECHUCA police are struggling to deal with ice-affected people almost on a daily basis.
And if an influx of the deadly drug which has hit Victoria’s streets makes its way here, things are going to get a whole lot worse.
The Sunday Herald Sun recently reported the latest wave of ice to reach the state has a high purity but has steeply dipped in price from a historical $80 to $100 a point (0.1g).
And Detective Sergeant Brendon Murphy of Echuca Criminal Investigation Unit said the more available and cheaper the drug was, the more problems it would create.
‘‘More people have access to the drug, more people can use it and those that use it already can use more of it more cheaply,’’ he said.
‘‘The more accessible it is in the community, the worse off we are.’’
Det. Sgt Murphy said ice was one of the main drivers of our crime rate.
‘‘It tends to increase the crime rate in a number of areas,’’ he said.
And those affected by the drug are becoming increasingly difficult to control.
‘‘Ice users are unpredictable, they are irrational, they are violent and they are only focused on their next usage of the drug,’’ Det. Sgt Murphy said.
‘‘We are required to be more planned, utilise more resources and take into account, on a more frequent basis, the possibility of violence or irrational behaviour towards us or other members of the community.
‘‘I have no doubt that there are members who struggle to deal with the issue of dealing with violent, irrational people on a regular basis. It has a draining and deleterious effect in a number of areas.’’
Crime Statistics Agency (CSA) figures show methylamphetamine use and possession — namely ice and speed — have almost tripled across the state in the past three years.
And Campaspe police Acting Inspector Craig Gaffee said the methylamphetamine use in our area continued to be a significant concern for police.
‘‘CSA data shows that drug harm is not going away and is an issue for our local community,’’ he said.
‘‘Anecdotally, local police have seen an increase in methylamphetamine and associated harm it causes.’’
He said the scourge of ice had been a consistent driver of crime in general, and users posed a danger to police officers and the public.
‘‘It is difficult to negotiate with users in crisis situations and they often act in an unpredictable manner,’’ he said.
‘‘Any situation we attend, the aim is to have a peaceful resolution. People affected by illicit substances are dealt with on a case-by-case basis, which is determined by the behaviour of the person.
‘‘Local police often see a combination of mental illness and drug use. Police are trained to respond with a focus on the safety of the affected person, other persons in the area and police.’’
Police Association of Victoria secretary Wayne Gatt said the more available and cheap this drug was, the higher the risk members and the community faced when they were confronted with ice users.