Tweed ranks in top 10 ice hotspots across NSW
TWEED police say they need an additional 31 police officers to tackle the ice epidemic which has the area ranked in the top 10 regional hotspots for the drug.
NSW Police Association spokesperson Darren Mccaughey said Tweed police numbers were so stretched that they were forced to focus on ice users rather than criminals further up the supply chain.
"All we can do at the moment is mop up the problems, rather than getting to the root of the issue and stopping the drugs before they hit our streets," he said.
"That's why we need additional police on our front line in Tweed/Byron to deal with the hold ice has taken on our community."
Crime statistics released last week showed possession of methamphetamine (or ice) has risen by 48 per cent in the Tweed over the past year alone.
According to the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, Tweed is ranked at number eight in the top 10 ice hotspots across the state, with Narrandera sitting at number one.
Mr Mccaughey said an additional 12 police officers were needed for the Tweed's Regional Enforcement Squad, which is tasked with disrupting drug supply and targeting gun crime.
He said ice was "destroying" regional areas which were "shouldering the brunt of the scourge".
"It dominates our work, it has links to domestic violence, mental health incidents, road fatalities, youth crime, house and business break ins, organised crime and it is destroying lives," he said.
"If we're serious about tackling our ice problem, we need the resources to be able to focus on the drug dealers - the people pedalling this poison in our communities.
"The NSW Government has a choice, it can either sit back and watch while this drug continues to take hold of our communities, or it can listen to the police on the ground and deliver the additional resources we need to keep our streets safe."
Tweed Byron Police Superintendent Wayne Starling said he was "confident" Police Commissioner Mick Fuller would allocate resources where they were most needed.
Former police officer and State Labor candidate for Tweed Craig Elliot backed the call for more police in the region.
"Our local police are doing great work but we have fewer police here in the Tweed today than we did in February 2012, with 33 officers being cut from local ranks under Nationals MP Geoff Provest and his government," he said.
"As a former frontline police officer I know that extra officers make for a safer community and more police pro-actively patrolling our suburbs means residents will be safer in their homes and that's why I'm backing the blue."
Mr Provest has been contacted for comment.