Dozens of people checked themselves in for drug rehabilitation following major raids on the Mongrel Mob six months ago. But a community leader says much more is needed to combat addiction in the small town.

The crime rate in Kawerau has dropped and dozens of people checked themselves in for drug rehabilitation since a major police raids on the Mongrel Mob six months ago.

But a community leader who deals with the fallout of methamphetamine addiction every day says greater funding and collaboration between government agencies is needed to keep the problem in check.

Operation Notus led to the arrests of 48 people and the restraint of nearly $3 million of property in March this year.

At the time, police warned others would fill the gap in the drug market in the eastern Bay of Plenty town.

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Six months on, it was revealed the National Organised Crime Group continued covert surveillance in Kawerau and today charged seven individuals who allegedly took over the P supply in the town.

Along with methamphetamine and cannabis, 26 firearms and more than $21,000 in cash was seized.

Three stolen Toyota Hilux utes were recovered from one address in Kawerau, along with a number of power tools.

"This was a major disruption to organised crime and methamphetamine supply,"
said Senior Sergeant Richard Miller, the Acting Eastern Bay of Plenty Area Commander.

Some of the 26 firearms seized by police in the second phase of Operation Notus. Photo / Police.
Some of the 26 firearms seized by police in the second phase of Operation Notus. Photo / Police.
Some of the methamphetamine seized by police in the second phase of Operation Notus. Photo / Police.
Some of the methamphetamine seized by police in the second phase of Operation Notus. Photo / Police.
A stack of $20 bills seized by police, part of $21,000 found in the second phase of Operation Notus. Photo / Police.
A stack of $20 bills seized by police, part of $21,000 found in the second phase of Operation Notus. Photo / Police.

"We took the opportunity to encourage users of methamphetamine to engage
with support and treatment services to help them break the downward cycle of
addiction."

Kawerau was a much safer place after the first termination of Operation Notus, said Miller, according to crime statistics in the three months following the arrests.

There was a 34 per cent reduction in overall crime which included a 50 per cent decrease in violent offending.

Now the prosecution of 55 individuals was underway, Miller said the police would work closely with iwi and other agencies to support anyone identified as buying methamphetamine from them.

Chris Marjoribanks, the chief executive of the Tuwharetoa Health Education and Services Trust, was thankful for the police efforts in Operation Notus.

He revealed 58 methamphetamine users sought help for addiction after the first raids in March, noting self-referrals for rehabilitation had a greater success rate.

But Marjoribanks said more funding was needed for long-term success, as well as closer working relationships between community groups, such as Tuwharetoa, and government agencies.

"We're on the ground here, we know the families, we know the community. We see the impact of methamphetamine on a daily basis ... the deprivation in homes, lack of food, domestic violence, the impact on our children," said Majoribanks.

"We sincerely appreciate [police efforts to tackle] the supply [of drugs]. But that's only part of the problem. Those with significant addiction need full support for successful rehabilitation."

This required greater collaboration between the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry for Children Oranga Tamariki and the Ministry of Health, urged Majoribanks.

"This is multi-dimensional. We talk about reducing the number of people being incarcerated. Well, it's not just a justice issue. We can improve the health of entire families, the wellbeing of our children.

"I'm strong on the fact communities, where P has a significant impact, need dedicated resources to provide depth of service.

"We need a big-picture approach."

Operation Notus has led to arrests of 55 people associated with Mongrel Mob and methamphetamine since March. Photo / Alan Gibson.
Operation Notus has led to arrests of 55 people associated with Mongrel Mob and methamphetamine since March. Photo / Alan Gibson.

A Government inquiry into mental health and addiction services, led by Professor Ron Paterson, to identify unmet needs and make recommendations, is due to report back at the end of October.

• Police urge anyone affected by methamphetamine addiction to seek help
through the Alcohol and Drug Helpline 0800 787 797, or free text 1737 to speak
with a trained counsellor.

• They urge anyone with information regarding the supply of methamphetamine
to contact their local police, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.