Po­lice pledge to ac­cept in­ject­ing rooms

Herald Sun - - NEWS - JAMES DOWL­ING AND AN­DREA HAMBLIN

VIC­TO­RIA’S po­lice union has an­nounced it will not op­pose the tri­alling of safe in­ject­ing rooms in Rich­mond amid con­cerns its of­fi­cers are left “pick­ing up the pieces” when lives are lost to heroin over­doses.

Now all arms of the emer­gency ser­vices ei­ther back a trial or say they are no longer op­posed to it.

It comes as a pro­posed Bill to in­tro­duce med­i­cally su­per­vised in­ject­ing rooms for heroin users is set to be de­bated in par­lia­ment this week.

Po­lice As­so­ci­a­tion sec­re­tary Wayne Gatt con­firmed the union did not op­pose the trial.

“The as­so­ci­a­tion recog­nises that heroin over­doses are pre­dom­i­nantly a health is­sue that com­monly cause death and leave our mem­bers and other emer­gency ser­vice work­ers fre­quently pick­ing up the pieces when lives are trag­i­cally lost,” Mr Gatt said.

“Ar­range­ments like those in NSW do not neg­a­tively im­pact polic­ing op­er­a­tions de­signed to com­bat drug-re­lated crime and would be re­quired in Vic­to­ria to en­sure that a trial does not com­pro­mise po­lice ac­tiv­i­ties in any way.”

Up­per House MP Fiona Pat­ten, who pro­posed the Bill, said: “It is now up to Matthew Guy and Daniel An­drews to back this trial to make sure it goes ahead.”

The Po­lice As­so­ci­a­tion was the last branch of the emer­gency ser­vices to re­move its op­po­si­tion to an in­ject­ing room.

A report tabled in state par­lia­ment this month said drug use in North Rich­mond had reached a cri­sis level, but the gov­ern­ment said it did not have plans for an in­ject­ing rooms.

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