Cheap meth a ‘sad reality’ says Wanneroo’s top cop

Troubling and tragic: Meth can be bought in Perth for less than you would pay for a pizza.
Troubling and tragic: Meth can be bought in Perth for less than you would pay for a pizza.

THE dangers of making meth have led to fewer residential drug labs but the “sad reality” now is that it’s cheap and accessible, says Wanneroo police officer-in-charge Simon Hazell.

This financial year, to the end of February, WA Police and agency partners seized more than 1.3 tonnes of meth estimated to be worth up to $1.3 billion.

Snr Sgt Hazell said meth was now “much cheaper and readily available” in higher quantities due to illegal mass imports and organised crime involvement in its production.

“WA Police have noticed a decrease in meth labs in private premises because the manufacturing process is too dangerous and it’s cheap to buy,” he said.

From January 2017 to March 20 this year, Wanneroo police officers conducted 356 investigations into drug offences that resulted in 326 people charged.

Police officers report clandestine labs and meth use to the Department of Health and the relevant local government which then assess what action should be taken.

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Wanneroo planning and sustainability director Mark Dickson said the City’s principal environmental health officer had been alerted to one meth lab and three incidents of meth use in the last five years.

Mr Dickson said the officer determined what action should be taken in regards to meth labs to ensure the dwelling was fit for tenants before allowing people to move into the property.

“The officer contacts the home owner with directions about necessary remediation work, process guidelines such as information about contracting industrial cleaners and forensic testers to clean up the property, and verification requirements,” he said.

“The forensic testing contractor must then provide a written report to the relevant local government confirming the work undertaken, its effectiveness and its compliance with national guidelines.”

If the report was acceptable and no further work was required, the local government would contact the home owner to advise them that the dwelling was fit to live in.

However, if the property was deemed unfit for tenants, Mr Dickson said enforcement action could be taken to prevent occupancy until the clean-up was completed.

“The process for meth use is similar to meth labs, but less onerous when meth residue levels are lower,” he said.

Snr Sgt Hazell encouraged anyone who noticed suspicious behaviour or thought they lived near a “drug house” to call Crime Stoppers instead of turning to social media.

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