LABOR has cited an “ice epidemic” on the back of statistics showing a sharp surge in drug-releated crime in the North East over the past four years.
And shadow minister for police and emergency services Wade Noonan says cuts to police funding are at least partly to blame.
While the cynics might say there’s an election in Victoria in just over three months, and the comments are politically motivated, Labor is far from a lone voice in describing the proliferation of the drug ice as an epidemic.
We have heard it from magistrates and judges who see the fall-out from the use of the drug every day.
The warning to be cautious about statistics showing a 37 per cent rise in drug-related crime in Wodonga, and a 28 per cent rise in Wangaratta, came from North East Supt Paul O’Halloran.
But the impact the insidious drug ice has had can not be denied or ignored.
One thing Mr Noonan and Supt O’Halloran do agree on is that the issue is not one in which we can “police our way” to a solution.
It will take a community effort.
Labor is yet to offer the specifics on its plan of attack but has recognised the issue as one of importance for regional communities.