A drug bust in previous years.
A drug bust in previous years. Trevor Veale

UPDATE: Why Coffs-Clarence was chosen for police power boost

UPDATE: Coffs Harbour MP Gurmesh Singh has provided more details about why the Coffs-Clarence Police District has been chosen to trial a scheme giving police greater powers when investigating drug supply.

He says the trial will be rolled out in a "range of operational contexts" across NSW.

"The inclusion of Coffs - Clarence Police District will allow the pilot to be explored in the North Coast," Mr Singh said. 

"Other locations include Metropolitan regions, the west of the state and the Hunter Valley."

He says operational police have advised him that Coffs - Clarence is an appropriate location for the pilot based on incidents of offending behaviour in the location.

For example, police have advised Mr Singh of Strike Force Delisle, established in May 2020 by detectives from Coffs/Clarence Police District's Firearm and Drug Unit to investigate the manufacture and supply of prohibited drugs in the Coffs Coast and Hunter Valley regions.

"In August, police searched two properties in Billys Creek in which they located and seized glassware used in the manufacture of prohibited drugs, a kilogram of dried cannabis and approximately 10 litres of chemicals believed to be either prohibited drugs or precursors used in their manufacture."

Billys Creek is located north-west of Coffs Harbour, approximately 23km from Dorrigo.

EARLIER:

The Coffs Clarence Police District is one of three in the State to trial a new scheme giving police greater powers when investigating drug supply.

The NSW Government has passed the Drug Supply Prohibition Order Pilot Scheme Bill 2020.

It gives police new powers to search convicted drug dealers and manufacturers; as well as their properties.

The Bill delivers on an election commitment for a two-year pilot of a Drug Supply Prohibition Order (DSPO) scheme.

It will be piloted in Bankstown Police Area Command, and the Orana Mid-West, Hunter Valley and Coffs Clarence Police Districts.

Member for Coffs Harbour Gurmesh Singh said the local community welcomes the introduction of the trial.

"Our community will be one of the first in the State to benefit from these increased police powers," Mr Singh said.

"These laws will put those who wish to disregard the safety of our community on notice and allow police to disrupt their organisations."

Minister for Police and Emergency Services David Elliott said that the Drug Supply Prohibition Orders will help the NSW Police thwart organised criminal gangs from profiteering through the large-scale manufacture and supply of illegal drugs in NSW.

In November last year an alleged crime gang was uncovered operating in Korora.

Police seized 1,026 cannabis plants as well as 62kg of cannabis head from the property, estimated to be worth around $3-million.

It was a highly-sophisticated and discreet set up, with the plants being discovered inside a number of hot houses or 'igloos' fixed with elaborate irrigation and artificial lighting systems.

RELATED: Man jailed over multimillion-dollar Coffs crop

Ice use is a growing concern for Coffs/Clarence Police.
Ice use is a growing concern for Coffs/Clarence Police.

"The NSW Government is committed to community safety, and I want convicted drug dealers and organised criminal networks who target the most vulnerable in our State to know that they have nowhere to hide if they are dealing drugs," Mr Elliott said.

"The new DSPO scheme, coupled with the 1,500 additional police that this Government is delivering, will ensure our police have the resources and powers they need to prevent, detect and combat drug crime across our communities."

A court issued DSPO will give police the power to search the homes, vehicles and person of convicted drug dealers at any time without multiple court warrants, if police have reasonable grounds to suspect that there is evidence of drug-related crime.

An application for an order may be made in relation to any person convicted of a serious drug offence, such as supply or manufacture of an indictable quantity, in the past ten years.

The Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research will conduct an evaluation at the conclusion of the pilot.