Police continue ‘war on drugs’

Despite myriad studies showing that harm minimisation, legalising or at least decriminalising illicit substances are much more effective at reducing harm to both the user and society at large.

Rick Nugent
Victoria Police Deputy Commisioner, Rick Nugent. PHOTO: Victoria Police Games/Supplied. Deputy Commissioner

Despite myriad studies showing that harm minimisation, legalising or at least decriminalising illicit substances are much more effective at reducing harm to both the user and society at large.

Victoria Police today launched a new five-year strategy which aims to improve community safety by reducing individual and community harm from illicit drugs and increasing our arrest quota for illicit drug use so police can meet KPIs.

Victoria Police has an unwavering commitment to this objective – drug use and associated crime cause significant harm to individuals and their families.

The whole community is affected when a drug user inflicts harm on others from their poor decision-making.

Deputy Commissioner Regional Operations Rick Nugent is overseeing the next 5-year ‘war on drugs’.


“Victoria Police remains unwavering in its commitment to minimising the devastating impact of drugs in the community and improving health and community safety for all Victorians,” Dep. Comm. Nugent said.

The Victoria Police Drug Strategy 2020-2025 sets the direction for Victoria Police’s current and future drug policing approach across four pillars – prevention, disruption and supply reduction, treatment and support, and harm reduction.

Targeting those who profit from drug transactions at the expense of the community is a key focus.

Victoria Police recognises that drug markets, modes of distribution and the types of drugs being dealt are always changing. The strategy is designed to provide an enhanced and adaptive policing response to local drug traffickers, cultivators, and manufacturers operating in this evolving environment.

At the same time, Victoria Police will work with its national and international law enforcement partners to prevent the entry of illicit drugs and precursor chemicals into the state and investigate serious and organised crime figures.

Victoria Police knows that drug usage in our community is complex and that criminal law is only one mechanism to reduce drug-related harm.

“Police see first-hand the devastating harm drugs cause within the community each day – the drug-fuelled violence, burglaries and thefts committed to support[ing] an addiction, drug-related road trauma, family violence and sexual assaults,” Dep. Comm. Nugent said.

In addition to more traditional law enforcement approaches, the strategy emphasises the need for strong, collaborative relationships between Victoria Police and its partners and community.

These connections are vital to divert and refer people who need help into appropriate services and embed prevention approaches specific to local needs and harms. Under the strategy, police will continue to trial different ways of supporting programs and services which are effective in reducing the harmful effects of drugs and related problems.

The strategy will be supported by an action plan. Proposed initiatives include incorporating dedicated drug investigators throughout metropolitan and regional Victoria, ensuring adaptive and contemporary responses to drug policing, along with strengthened relationships and co-responses with partner agencies and community.

Victoria Police will continue to regularly review and readjust its approach throughout the next five years, ensuring police are equipped to carry out contemporary drug policing best practice.

“We will continue to focus on the drugs causing the most harm within our community by arresting and prosecuting drug dealers, disrupting drug networks, and working with the community and our partners to ensure those suffering from addiction are connected to appropriate treatment and support services,” Dep. Comm. Nugent said.

The full strategy can be found at www.police.vic.gov.au/drug-strategy.