Community information secret to SW arrests

Kate FieldingSouth Western Times
Insp. Peter Morrissey
Camera IconInsp. Peter Morrissey

South West police have renewed calls for residents to report suspicious and criminal behaviour following an alleged “significant” drug bust which has been credited to information from the community.

Insp. Peter Morrissey said residents were the “eyes and ears” on the streets for police and information received through Crime Stoppers and local stations were vital in police operations.

He said people knew when something was not right in their street or the house next door and there were “dead give-aways” for drug-related activity.

“It’s like rocking up to buy your lotto but it’s not a newsagent,” Insp. Morrissey said.

“One of the dead give-aways is cars coming and going, people coming and going from houses, staying for a short period of time and then off they go.”

It comes as Bunbury detectives, Manjimup police, Organised Crime Squad and Police Canine Unit searched 15 properties in Manjimup and Withers where they allegedly seized more than 250g of methamphetamine, cannabis, more than $20,000 in cash and firearms, including a unlicensed semi-automatic rifle with a silencer.

A Withers man was among 13 people charged with more than 60 offences following the sting, labelled Operation Zagros.

The operation was sparked following community concern and Insp. Morrissey said areas where activity was reported would continue to be targeted.

“We will be targeting every community that the community wants to get involved with providing us information and intelligence that leads us to getting enough information to provide us with a base to commence an investigation,” he said.

He said it was hoped last week’s alleged drug bust would put confidence into the community that information received was being acted on by police.

“Those little tiny bits of information have filled in a jigsaw that’s enabled us to implement this operation,” he said.

“This is an encouragement to the community, that whilst you might ring Crime Stoppers or talk to your local police and raise issues with them and you might not see the police come to the door the next day or the next week, all those little bits of information do result in the culmination of an event such as this.

“Hopefully what it does is it gives the community solace that the information that they pass on is acted.”

He said residents should continue to report activity to Crime Stoppers – an anonymous service – on 1800 333 000.

“Small communities hear things, there’s a lot of known knowns that people don’t talk about, because they don’t think it’s going to be actioned or they’re scared of repercussions ... Crime Stoppers is a completely anonymous facility,” he said.

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