Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

{SPECIAL POLICE SQUAD TO HUNT ANGELS OF DEATH} {New Squad Hunts Angels of Death}; New Unit to Crack Down on Rocky's Drug-Dealing {Lsquo}underbelly'

Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

{SPECIAL POLICE SQUAD TO HUNT ANGELS OF DEATH} {New Squad Hunts Angels of Death}; New Unit to Crack Down on Rocky's Drug-Dealing {Lsquo}underbelly'

Article excerpt

Byline: Melinda Siegmeier melinda.siegmeier@capnews.com.au

ROCKHAMPTON is getting a specialised police drug team, but Robert Schwarten says the breakthrough should be mourned not celebrated.

Mr Schwarten, the Member for Rockhampton, said it was sad to see the city no longer insulated from large drug problems usually associated with major cities.

But Mr Schwarten hopes the forming of a drug team will serve as a "wake-up call" for people who still don't think drugs are an issue here.

"They (drug dealers) are angels of death - they are pushing drugs onto our young people and it's killing them," he said.

In 2009, police seized millions of dollar worth of drugs across the Rockhampton region, the most recent being more than 400 ecstasy tablets.

The new drug team will start operations in Rockhampton on February 13.

It will be run from the city's Criminal Investigation Branch by four designated detectives, but the team may involve up to 20 police depending on the investigation.

Acting Superintendant Graham Coleman yesterday said the Queensland Police Service saw a need to change its focus recently.

The drug team will replace the specialised property crime team, which had run successfully for about 12 months.

Property crime will now form part of CIB duties.

Acting Superintendant Coleman said the small drug team would focus on the sale and supply of drugs.

"That's our focus everyday now, but it will be more formalised with a clearer focus," he said.

Acting Superintendant Coleman said it would be ideal to have specialised squads for a number of issues, but it wasn't possible so Rockhampton police were focusing on major issues.

Mr Schwarten yesterday said he had no doubt the city needed a designated drug team.

"From what police have told me there are some very serious drug dealers in our neighbourhood," he said.

"That's why it's being treated seriously. It's sad that we have got to the stage that it requires police action, but I support it and give full marks to police. …

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