NIMBIN?S HAD ENOUGH
By ZOE SATHERLEY
VIOLENCE and drug trafficking in Nimbin are so bad that families are pulling their children out of the school and packing up and leaving town.
Three weeks into his job as the region's new police superintendent, Bruce Lyons said he has been overwhelmed by requests to clean up the town.
Supt Lyons said he had already had extensive consultations with the community and felt there was a groundswell of support for stronger policing.
Last week he also met Lismore Mayor Merv King to discuss a united response to dealing with drug and violence issues in Nimbin.
"Concern with the level of violence in Nimbin has reached a critical level," he said.
"People everywhere have been saying the same thing to me ? things have to change out there. The level of crime in Nimbin has grown from individuals selling cannabis to their selling hard drugs like heroin, and now there is the prevalence of selling amphetamines and dangerous derivatives of that drug.
"The supply and use of amphetamines, and the mixing of these drugs with alcohol and other drugs, has fuelled the escalation of violence in the community.
"The Nimbin community is crying out for help. Families are pulling their children out of the school and packing up and leaving the town."
Supt Lyons said he was committed to providing more visible policing in Nimbin, but the community had to make some hard decisions. "The community must realise it's not OK to condone the supply of cannabis and then expect that harder drugs will not be sold in their town," he said.
"Police enforcement must investigate supplies of cannabis as well as harder drugs.
"In doing this I am confident we will find that a number of cannabis suppliers are also supplying the harder drugs.
"I'm aware that Nimbin has a significant population of cannabis users, however people cannot expect police to turn a blind eye to those who openly use cannabis in public. What I want the communi- ty to know is that our drug enforcement strategy is towards those who are dealing in prohibited drugs ? including cannabis."
Supt Lyons said he believed the majority of people would want to support police and other agencies' efforts to make the town safer.
"I will not be seeing success as the number of drug arrests we make but by being able to ask local people and children in the school if they feel safe walking down the streets of Nimbin."