Cannabis continues to account for the greatest proportion of drug related arrests and the number and weight of illicit drugs seized in Tasmania, according to a new report by the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC).
The Illicit Drug Data Report 2015–16, released today, shows that cannabis remains the dominant illicit drug in Australia in terms of national arrests and seizure numbers.
Minister for Justice, the Hon. Michael Keenan MP, launched the report alongside ACIC Chief Executive Officer, Mr Chris Dawson, in Sydney.
“The Illicit Drug Data Report highlights the widespread nature of illicit drug use in Australia and the continued vigilance of law enforcement in working to combat this relentless market,” Mr Dawson said.
“In 2015–16, the number of national cannabis seizures increased to a record 61,334, with the weight of cannabis seized increasing 1.3 per cent to 6,081.5 kilograms.
“National cannabis arrests also continued to increase this reporting period, with a record 79,643 arrests in 2015–16.
“In Tasmania there were 1,452 cannabis arrests this reporting period, with 1,908 cannabis seizures in 2015–16, weighing a total of 195.4 kilograms.
“The international mail stream was the primary importation method by number for cannabis detections, while air cargo was the primary importation method by weight, with cannabis seeds continuing to account for the greatest proportion of cannabis detections at the Australian border.
“Understanding trends and emerging issues in the illicit drug market, both nationally and at a state and territory level, provides the ACIC and our partners with an opportunity to shape the response to both demand and supply, particularly in high-use areas,” Mr Dawson said.
Tasmania Police Acting Assistant Commissioner, Rob Bonde, welcomed the report.
“The report provides valuable trend data to assist us in our ongoing work to disrupt the supply of illicit drugs into Tasmania.
“Cannabis continues to be by far the most significant drug in Tasmania in terms of quantity seized and related arrests,” Acting Assistant Commissioner Bonde said.
Australian Federal Police (AFP) Commissioner Andrew Colvin said the Illicit Drug Data Report annually provides a valuable insight into the challenges faced by law enforcement.
“Drug seizures at our borders and those made on the streets by our state and territory counterparts indicate that Australia continues to be an attractive market for international organised crime syndicates,” Commissioner Colvin said.
“The AFP will continue working with local and international law enforcement agencies to disrupt and dismantle these syndicates. However, the entire Australian community needs to work together to examine how we can combat issues associated with demand for these substances.”
Australian Border Force (ABF) Acting Commissioner Michael Outram said the ABF has a pivotal role in preventing these dangerous and illicit substances from entering Australia.
“The numerous instances of record detections this reporting period serve as a reminder of the continued threat that illegal drugs pose on the Australian public,” Acting Commissioner Outram said.
“The prevalence of methylamphetamine and its precursors discovered at our borders follows a concerning trend over recent years. The ABF is working with domestic and international law enforcement agencies to combat this ruinous drug.”
The Illicit Drug Data Report 2015–16 is a statistical report which provides governments, law enforcement agencies and policy makers with a robust picture of the Australian illicit drug market. It brings together data from all state and territory police agencies, the Australian Federal Police, the Department of Immigration and Border Protection/Australian Border Force, forensic laboratories and research centres.
“The statistics in the report will inform prioritisation and decision-making as we continue to discover, understand and respond to the threat and harm caused by illicit drugs,” Mr Dawson said.
The Illicit Drug Data Report 2015–16 is available online at www.acic.gov.au