Police Association welcomes Government action on 'P'
Actions announced today by Prime Minister John Key to target methamphetamine are welcome, Police Association President Greg O’Connor said today.
"The Prime Minister’s package of announcements shows a welcome recognition, at the highest level of Government, of the extent of the ‘P’ problem," Mr O’Connor said.
"The ultimate success of some the initiatives, like restricting access to pseudoephedrine-based medicines, will be measured in terms of ‘P’ availability and street price. Information from our frontline investigators is that large scale, organised crime-linked ‘P’ labs already tend to use imported ContacNT, rather than locally-sourced cold and flu pills, so moves to increase Customs’ focus in this area are critical.
"As the Prime Minister himself said, we won’t solve the problem overnight – but there is a clear determination on Mr Key’s part to take firm action which has at some times in the past been lacking.
"The Police Association first started warning about the threat of a looming methamphetamine epidemic as far back as 1997. Unfortunately, those warnings were largely ignored by the Police and political leadership of the day and written off as scare mongering. It needs to be understood that as a result, we are now dealing not just with a drugs problem, but also a serious organised crime problem."
Mr O’Connor also welcomed the Prime Minister’s announcement that confiscated criminal assets would be put back into policing and treating methamphetamine addiction.
"New Zealanders will see the poetic justice in criminals being stripped of their ill-gotten gains, and seeing that money poured back into the fight against gangs and drugs," Mr O’Connor said.
"Obviously, there are issues of detail that will need to be worked through. For example, overseas experience shows it can take several years before asset restraining actions actually result in money being confiscated, because of legal processes and challenges. The amount of money confiscated each year can also vary wildly. Combating organised crime requires long-term commitment of resources to in-depth investigations, so vital policing tasks mustn’t grow to be dependent on delayed and unpredictable cash flow from proceeds of crime recoveries," Mr O’Connor warned.