A handful of ice dealers with links to Geelong suppliers are driving the drug trade and much of Warrnambool's crime, police have revealed.
Detective Sergeant Andrew Raven, of the Warrnambool police crime investigation unit, said crystal methylamphetamine was the main target drug of law enforcement because it was behind so much other crime.
He said that offending included violence and property crimes.
"Ice and crime work hand-in-hand," he said.
"If we reduce ice supply that leads to a direct reduction in crime - it's 100 per cent linked. The key is to limit the amount coming in.
"Most of our ice is coming from Geelong although there is some from Ballarat and other areas."
Detective Sergeant Raven said Warrnambool police worked proactively and reactively with Geelong and Ballarat divisional response and crime investigation units.
"We are regularly in contact with them," he said.
"Recidivist offenders commit 50 per cent of our crime. We have a dedicated divisional tasking team who target these offenders.
"Front line uniform members also ensure offenders comply with their bail conditions. If they're found to be contravening any conditions of their bail, such as a curfew, they will be arrested and brought before a magistrate.
"Other initiatives like Dob in a Dealer operates through Crime stoppers. Information from the public is crucial to helping police solve and stop crime."
The lead investigator said dealers were taking orders for drugs.
"Their business is pretty much done before they get home. They have orders to fill," he said.
"We need to identify those people and get them off the streets. They are the ones hurting us.
"There's a ready market and we need to interrupt that supply."
Detective Sergeant Raven said said dealers were travelling or being supplied at least weekly.
"These are the ones we know about," Detective Sergeant Raven said.
"They are self-supplied or being supplied, predominantly through Geelong or Ballarat and issues develop for them when we stop that supply.
"Police seizing drugs leads to debt for dealers.
"That leads to increased efforts to deal or other crimes, like the theft of firearms as those offenders try to get out of debt.
"It's a vicious cycle," he said.
In December last year it was reported that there had been a 36 per cent increase in drug trafficking, but drops in possession and use as drug offences rose from 176 for the first nine months of 2017 compared to 188 for the same period last year.
Warrnambool police Inspector Gary Coombes said then targeting recidivist offenders was leading to more criminals being caught.
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