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Government too slow to act on speed labs

Tony Ryall National Police Spokesman

10 November 2003

Government too slow to act on speed labs

A two-year backlog in methamphetamine lab testing is further proof this Government completely ignored early warning signs of the 'P' epidemic, says National's Police spokesman Tony Ryall.

"The Police Minister has turned a blind eye to the problem of 'P'. He refused to see that a burgeoning clan lab industry, under the control of the gangs, would lead to the single biggest policing crisis in years," says Mr Ryall.

"Now he's panicking and he doesn't know what to do. He's come up with a couple of specialist police teams who won't even start work until next year.

"Under Labour, crime is more random and more violent - yet the Prime Minister says the streets are safer.

"It is little wonder that the Police Association is frustrated that drug-makers are out on bail, reportedly reoffending, while scientists struggle to catch up with speed lab testing," says Mr Ryall.

"Counties Manukau, for example, is in the grip of a drug-related crime wave with more and more police being sent in to cope with a spate of homicides. Senior police there have admitted that under-staffing is causing the police to miss investigating alleged drug-dealers," he says.

"The Government's been caught completely off-guard. For the last three years, National's been warning that 'P' use is out of control, but all George Hawkins has done is focus on endless money for highway patrols and speed cameras.

"Look at the Proceeds of Crime Act. He's refused to act on this, leaving the drug-dealing gangs raking in millions and thumbing their noses at the law.

"This soft-on-drugs Government can't afford to ignore the 'P' problem any longer.

"Mr Hawkins must listen to the police frustrated at his inaction, he must listen to the under-resourced scientists and firefighters struggling to deal with clan labs and he must listen to the thousands of ordinary New Zealanders trying to curb the spread of this insidious drug," says Mr Ryall.

Ends


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