Police fear for their own safety

olice feel drug-affected people are making their jobs more challenging.

olice feel drug-affected people are making their jobs more challenging.

MORE than 80 per cent of police feel “vulnerable” or “at risk” while on the job, a new survey has revealed.

Three quarters of respondents to the Police Association of Victoria’s Priority Policing Issues Survey listed drugs – ice in particular – as a key crime issue facing police today.

Some 83 per cent of the 3000 respondents to the union’s survey also said they believed current levels of substance abuse had made their job different than it was three years ago.

Mildura police Acting Inspector Rebecca Olsen said ice use was a “constant and increasing challenge” for police.

“They are faced daily with vulnerable addicts that display erratic and often violent behaviours,” she said.

“The violence is often directed at members, which is disappointing.

“There is an impact of methylamphetamine on the police with an increase in contact with ice-affected offenders and this makes law enforcement a tough task – as it does with all other drugs inclusive of alcohol.”

Five Mildura police officers faced months of health tests for Hepatitis and AIDS after restraining a man covered in his own blood in May.

Former Inspector Simon Clemence said while no officers in the district had contracted the potentially fatal diseases, incidents on the job meant the tests were being performed fortnightly.

The police union’s survey showed about half of respondents felt equipped to deal with current levels of substance abuse.

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