Neil Mitchell questions police over Richmond drug crackdown results


Police are hailing its two-week drug crackdown near North Richmond’s safe injecting rooms a success despite only laying a handful charges.

Officers patrolled Victoria Street and surrounding areas for 12 hours per day as part of Operation Apollo.

More than 40 people were arrested, but only five people were charged with drug trafficking and eight people were charged with possession.

Commander Trish Duke told Neil Mitchell she understood why he considered the numbers to be low, while not necessarily agreeing.

But she denied there was instructions to avoid the safe injecting rooms, despite also conceding everyone who entered the rooms with drugs was breaking the law.

Click PLAY to watch Neil Mitchell try to get his head around that

Click PLAY to watch Neil clarify the arrest and charge numbers — a moment that left many subsequent callers unimpressed.

Click PLAY to hear the full interview

Most of the trafficking charges related to heroin.

All accused traffickers are aged between 38 and 49.

Another two people were arrested for burglary offences, but police insist Operation Apollo was targeted at drug traffickers and improving community safety, and not targeting addicts who are in North Richmond to use the medically supervised safe injecting centre.

“We are committed to the four pillars of drug harm minimisation, being prevention, treatment, reducing harm and reducing supply,” Acting Inspector Trish Duke said.

“While we recognise that those who use drugs have a health problem, we also know that drugs are a big contributor to crime in the community.