DRUG dealers in Tamworth pubs are being targeted in a first-of-its kind campaign in NSW.
The Tamworth Liquor Accord has urged people to dob in a dealer to Crime Stoppers if they see dodgy behaviour going down in licensed premises.
Accord chairman Ian Dundon said skyrocketing drug-related arrests sparked campaign, launched on Tuesday.
“If you’re out and see someone dealing, you ring Crime Stoppers and you let them know,” Mr Dundon said.
“It’s up to people to take ownership of this.
“If they don’t take ownership of this, it will multiply and then we will bear the consequences.”
While the success of the campaign is in the community’s control, Mr Dundon said he would welcome any action local police would take to support the drive, including sniffer dogs and walk-throughs.
Tamworth officer-in-charge Jeff Budd praised the accord’s initiative but wouldn't outline how police would back the scheme.
“I wouldn’t throw the cards out and tell you what we’re going to do but, absolutely, we support the initiative and we will do everything we can to support the liquor accord,” Chief Inspector Budd said.
He said the campaign was the community’s chance to change the city.
“We’ve spoken plenty of times about what people do and say on Facebook about what they want to change in town, here’s your opportunity.
“It’s a great opportunity for the community to step forward and say ‘here’s a problem, I contributed to the way it was fixed’.”
What drugs are posing problems?
The liquor accord and local police have driven down alcohol-related assaults in Tamworth by 56 per cent since 2013, however, drug related arrests for possession (588 per cent) and dealing (529 per cent) have boomed in that time.
Chief Inspector Budd told The Leader ice was still the forerunner when it came to drug-use in Tamworth.
“But cannabis is still a big thing and more surprisingly, our friends in the medical area in Tamworth will tell us heroin is still a big player,” he said.
What to watch out for
The Australian Hotel’s Association (AHA) NSW director of liquor and policing, John Green, said there were some tell-tale signs for people to watch-out for when they were out on the town.
Mr Green said it would be incumbent on patrons and staff to keep their eyes’ peeled.
“There’s a responsibility on everyone,” Mr Green said.
“If they see suspicious behaviour, the people who are dealing with drugs aren’t the ones in having a good meal and that.
“They’re in-and-out on the phone, they’re taking calls all the time, people are coming in and seeing the regularly and then leaving rather than staying and enjoying the benefits of the venue.
“That’s the sort of suspicious behaviour we’re talking about.”
Calling out poor beahviour
The NSW Government launched the ‘Ask for Angela’ initiative, giving patrons a covert way to call-out sexual assault and violence in licensed premises.
Under the program, when a patron ‘Asks for Angela’ at a participating venue it sends a discreet message to staff to offer help or contact authorities.
The program has been rolled-out in Sydney, as well as Orange, Wagga Wagga, Albury and Byron Bay.
Mr Green said it could be extended to more regional areas and has garnered interest interstate and overseas.
We’ve rolled out the ‘Ask for Angela’ campaign about dodgy social media dates, people meet someone for the first time, realise they’re not who they said they were on the dating site,” he said.
“When they use that trigger word, the staff are aware they need to have their date monitored or even moved to another part of the motel, or, in those extreme circumstances, they need police contacted.
“That’s one other regional areas might be looking at in the future.”