Mandurah’s drug crime up, meth use down

Supporting the community: Mandurah Palmerston court diversion officer Craig Wright and clinical coordinator Raylene Catterick. Photo: Carla Hildebrandt.
Supporting the community: Mandurah Palmerston court diversion officer Craig Wright and clinical coordinator Raylene Catterick. Photo: Carla Hildebrandt.

Mandurah’s drug-related crime is on the rise but authorities and experts agree methamphetamine use is decreasing. 

Data collated by the Mandurah Mail shows a total of 2081 charges went before the Mandurah Magistrates Court last month, with cannabis possession (80) just as prevalent as methamphetamine (79). 

On Tuesday, the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission released wastewater testing results revealing meth use had dropped by 11 per cent in regional WA. 

Mandurah Police Senior Sergeant Darren Hart said this trend was on par with WA police statistics over the past two years. 

“It is fairly consistent, sometimes there are even more cannabis seizures than meth,” he said.

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But, in the past 10 years there has been a steady increase in illicit drug crimes committed in Mandurah with 170 offences reported in 08/09 up to 340 in 16/17, according to WA Police data. 

This includes possessing, selling, manufacturing, importing, exporting and trafficking illicit drugs. 

This is more than Rockingham’s drug offences (161 in 08/09, 294 in 16/17) and Joondalup’s drug offences (81 in 08/09, 262 in 16/17). 

Senior Sergeant Hart said illicit drugs have always been a problem and driver of crime in Mandurah. 

“Even going back to heroin addicts feeding their habit by committing crime,” he said. 

Drug crime: Drug offence comparisons between Mandurah (blue) Rockingham (orange) and Joondalup (green) in the past ten years. Photo: WA Police website.

Drug crime: Drug offence comparisons between Mandurah (blue) Rockingham (orange) and Joondalup (green) in the past ten years. Photo: WA Police website.

“It’s widely documented that meth makes people become more violent and manic in behaviour which creates challenges. 

“You have an increase of the anti-social behaviour and aggression.”

Palmerston chief executive officer Sheila McHale said the demand for drug and alcohol services in Mandurah is increasing on a whole, but methamphetamine addiction has decreased. 

“What we’re seeing is a plateau in methamphetamine across the organisation broadly,” she said. 

Mandurah Police Senior Sergeant Darren Hart. Photo: Carla Hildebrandt.

Mandurah Police Senior Sergeant Darren Hart. Photo: Carla Hildebrandt.

“It really spiked up after 2013, but there has now been a reduction. 

“In the past year in Mandurah, 27 per cent of our clients identified methamphetamine as their main drug concern, compared with 31 per cent the previous year. 

“But what we are seeing is an alcohol and cannabis increase from the previous year.

“The effects of alcohol on the community is more wide-spread than methamphetamine and the social and economic cost is far greater.

”Those drugs feed into the court figures just as much.”

Magistrate Longden has been really good. If the magistrate really believes in it, then that filters down.

Mandurah Palmerston diversion officer Craig Wright

Mandurah Palmerston diversion officer Craig Wright, who works with court staff and legal aid to help addicts, said the service had a strong relationship with current magistrate, Anne Longden. 

“I was able to just slot in three years ago,” he said.

“We probably don’t get as much interest as we would like, but the fact that the court staff actually believe in the merits of the program helps.

“Magistrate Longden has been really good. If the magistrate really believes in it, then that filters down.”

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