Colac drug crime doubles

Inspector Peter Seel and Detective Chris Potter discuss the discovery of 50 cannabis plants in Colac district.

Inspector Peter Seel and Detective Chris Potter discuss the discovery of 50 cannabis plants in Colac district.

COLAC and district’s drug-related crime has nearly doubled in the past year because of increased use and a police crackdown, the regional police inspector says.

Victoria Police crime statistics show the Surf Coast Police Service Area’s drug offences jumped from 67 to 128 between 2012 and 2013

The Surf Coast PSA covers the Colac Otway Shire and Surf Coast Shire.

PSA Inspector Peter Seel said police had laid more charges in relation to the trafficking, cultivating and manufacturing of drugs in the past year.

“We have increased in enforcement, but we have seen an increase in use,” Insp Seel said.

“The ice is a prime example, more people tend to use ice than they did 12 months ago,” he said.

“It’s not a Colac problem, it’s a society issue.”

The drug “ice” is a methamphetamine.

Insp Seel said police were busting a range of drug crimes and criminals.

“We’re getting everything, cannabis, ice, a bit of heroin, and it’s all very much related to information from the general public we use to get search warrants,” Insp Seel said.

“Definitely we’re getting some middle-of-the-road-type dealers – it’s difficult to tell how big they are sometimes,” he said.

The state’s drug crime rate jumped 14.4 per cent, or by 2909 offences, between 2013 and 2013.

Meanwhile, total crime in the PSA dropped nine per cent, with the only other notable crime increase the theft of motor vehicles, a rise of 20 per cent.

“Although it’s up, it’s pleasing that it is only 10 offences,” Insp Seel said.

“It is a crime we will be targeting over the next few months,” he said.

Crime against the property reduced 20 per cent, assault excluding family violence reduced from 193 offences in 2012 to 145 in 2013 and residential burglary is down 32 per cent.

“Our participation with liquor accords in Torquay and Colac along with a strong focus on enforcement, has continued to reduce assaults in and around licensed venues,” Insp Seel said.

“The use of banning notices has also been a factor in the reduction, where identified trouble makers are banned from licensed venues for specific periods between three and 12 months,” he said.

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