THE LEVEL of drug use in Liskeard will not be tolerated and more offenders will be prosecuted, says the new man at the helm for neighbourhood policing teams in South East Cornwall.
"We will make it more difficult for drug dealers and we will be putting more people in front of the courts," said Inspector Tony Joslin, who took over as the new sector inspector for Liskeard, Looe, Callington, Saltash and Torpoint in December.
Now three months into his new role Mr Joslin, who also worked in the area between July 2010 and May 2011, said: "Since coming back I have noticed a big difference in my perception of drug use in Liskeard. There is a significant increase in the drug culture in the town."
He warns that tougher action will be taken against offenders.
"I won't tolerate the level of drug dealing we have got in Liskeard.
"We have already carried out two drug warrants this week and are going to do more. We will carry on as long as the intelligence supports it."
No arrests were made following the searches but Mr Joslin said it sends a strong signal to drug dealers: "It's part of an ongoing strategy to disrupt the drug trade in the town."
The new inspector said the number of drug related offences recorded doesn't reflect the true nature of the problem.
"Drug crime doesn't become a crime until we actually deal with it. There could be a hundred people out there injecting heroin; until we knock on their door and bring them in it remains an undetected offence."
He warned that the drug culture in Liskeard has a direct link to the number of other offences such as theft and burglaries being committed in the town.
"People care when their house is burgled. We are addressing the factors which makes people victims."
Liskeard has recently been identified as a priority town under the Safer Cornwall Partnership. A multi-agency team has been formulated to address problems in the town including drug use, anti-social behaviour and domestic and sexual violence.
Mr Joslin said the police will work with other agencies to help tackle the issues associated with drug use.
"Drug addiction like alcohol addiction is a disease. Addicts need social care to get them out of the circle of drug taking," he said.
"The police are there to catch the bad people but when the bad people are ill it's difficult. No matter how many times I get my staff to kick doors down, we have to find a way of breaking the cycle of addiction."