'It is going to be terrible, terrible thing'
THE TOP cop in the Tweed-Byron Local Area Command has shared his concern about the influence of the drug ice on violent police assaults.
Superintendent Wayne Starling said there was about one assault per day across NSW, and there had been several assaults on local police in the Tweed-Byron area since he started in the job three months ago.
He recalled one incident three months ago where an aggravated ice user pinned a male officer down and was allegedly beating him several times in the face and attempting to "gouge his eyes out".
"Ice is a concern to me as commander in looking after the welfare of our police," Supt Starling said.
"I think it's going to be terrible, terrible thing over the next few years unless we can address it some way."
"It terrifies me as a commander that one day I'll lose one of my police officers as a result of someone being on ice and either killing or seriously injuring one of my police."
"It's just a matter of time."
Supt Starling said it was hard to prove that people were on ice but for police officers the behaviour was unmistakeable.
"Our Commissioner has said we won't arrest our way out of this problem, it's a community problem."
NSW police association executive member for the North Coast Brett Henderson-Smith said ice related behaviour was disturbing for police officers because their normal restraining procedures didn't always work.
Officers usually try to reason with offenders before taking any physical force techniques such as wrist locks and pushing, which are reliant on "pain compliance".
But with ice, people are neither responsive to reason, nor responsive to pain.
"Which it obviously makes it very very difficult for police in these circumstances," Mr Henderson-Smith said.
"That places officers in greater danger."
"We also see offenders on ice who are stabbing themselves and stabbing at police."
Mr Henderson-Smith said assaults on police tended to fluctuate and there was no evidence they were on the rise, but the nature of assaults was changing and despite their training police were faced with far more unpredictable everyday situations, due to the influence of ice.