Stuff co.nz 31 January 2016
West Coast police want their planned “tactical squad” to tackle a growing methamphetamine problem.
Police figures show methamphetamine (P) offending rose 252 per cent in the first five months of the 2015/2016 financial year compared to the previous year.
Tasman District Commander Superintendent Karyn Malthus led a review into West Coast policing.
She has proposed setting up a new “tactical squad” to target gangs and drugs. Proposals were released for consultation on Tuesday.
Police Association president Greg O’Connor branded the plans as “centralisation” as some roles in Buller and Westland would move to Greymouth.
“The Tasman management are implementing a national prevention model developed in Counties Manukau. It was successful in Counties Manukau because they were given an extra 300 staff. Without that extra staff on the West Coast it can’t be done,” he said.
“The downturn in the West Coast economy and increasing unemployment creates more social problems and more work for emergency services especially police. That is reflected in the recent increase in methamphetamine on the West Coast. Police staff are telling me they used to find cannabis everywhere, now they see P,” he said.