Source: Advertiser, The (Australia)
Contact:  Sat, 19 Sep 1998
Author: Jeremy Pudney, Nadine Williams and John Merriman


THE Police Commissioner, Mr Hyde, has declared war on "street-level" drug

He has sounded the warning to combat an alarming increase in overdose
deaths, heroin use and drug-related crime.

Mr Hyde has given dealers a blunt message: "You had better look out."

"We think drugs - heroin in particular - is such a major problem for the
community we must solve it and if we solve that, then we can solve the crime
problem, too," he told The Advertiser.

"If we are going to solve our crime problem, we have to solve the heroin

Mr Hyde has adopted the tough stance in the light of figures which link drug
addicts to a 30 per cent jump in violent robberies in the past 12 months.

In a strategy designed to make an immediate impact on the escalating level
of drug-related crime, Mr Hyde said police would focus on street-level
dealers and not just the "Mr Bigs".

"My argument is that if illicit drug use, particularly heroin, is the cause
of a lot of our problems, let's look at that and see if we can do something
different to stop the criminal offending," he said. "Perhaps if we increases
our operations against street-level traffickers . . . it should have a more
immediate impact on the availability of heroin in the community, it should
have a more immediate impact on people engaged in trafficking and we expect
also that it would have a disruptive impact on organised networks.

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Checked-by: Don Beck