REPORTER @jackpayn MAY 10, 2021
Dozens of people have been arrested for drug offences as part of police crackdown near Melbourne’s controversial safe injecting room.
Victoria Police charged 16 people with drug trafficking and 14 people with drug possession in Richmond, Collingwood and Fitzroy during April.
The arrests come after a turbulent past month for the North Richmond medically supervised injecting room that saw a man caught inside the Richmond West Primary School grounds allegedly wielding a knife, while another man was found dead in a park near the school.
Disgruntled parents, who have encountered drug users unconscious, dealing, defecating and urinating next to the primary school, held a crisis meeting in March to demand the injecting room be moved.
While police made no mention of the injecting room in announcing the arrests, Acting Superintendent Kelvin Gale said they were “unwavering” in their commitment to minimising the devastating impacts of drugs on the community.
A man is arrested inside the grounds of Richmond West Primary School after allegedly being found with a knife. Picture: Jason Edwards
“Our number one priority is community safety and we will continue to work tirelessly to ensure everyone in Yarra is safe,” he said.
“The harm caused by illicit drugs ripples throughout our entire community – with drug-fuelled violence, burglaries and thefts committed to support an addiction, drug-related road trauma, family violence and sexual assaults.”
Operation Enforcement, a new dedicated local drug enforcement strategy, involves police with local businesses and stakeholders to analyse intelligence every day and provide a targeted response to prevent and illicit drug activity across Richmond, Collingwood and Fitzroy.
Five men and a woman were charged with drug trafficking and dealing with the proceeds of crime after police allegedly seized cannabis, LSD, magic mushrooms (Psilocybin), cash, six tasers and OC spray at a house in Clifton Hill on April 6. Among the other 24 people arrested was a 45-year-old man allegedly found with heroin, about $1000 worth of casino chips, thousands of dollars in cash and multiple mobile phones in his car in Richmond.
Superintendent Gale said police would continue to have a proactive, ongoing focus targeting street level drug dealing and possession in Yarra local government area.