Sarawak police eyeing 80 cops for drug abuse in ‘house cleaning’ effort

Sarawak deputy police commissioner Dev Kumar MM Sree.

KUCHING: A senior police officer said today his department was “cleaning up their own house” before combating drug abuse in the wider community.

Sarawak deputy police commissioner Dev Kumar MM Sree said they could not deny that a small group of police personnel were involved in drug abuse or working with drug syndicates in the state.

He said about 80 policemen were on the radar for possible involvement with drugs, adding that tackling drug abuse was one of their main goals as it had reached a “worrying” stage in Sarawak.

“That’s why we need to clean up our own house before we can tackle this problem. We cannot be in a state of denial anymore. We really need to look into it,” he told reporters at a press conference here today.

He said two police personnel with the rank of lance corporal, from Kuching and Kota Samarahan, had been remanded for alleged methamphetamine abuse through a special operation named Op Blue Devil, meant to eradicate drug abuse among police personnel.

Drug abuse testing usually involves an initial screening followed by a second test by a pathologist to ascertain if drugs had been used.

“We can only act on the second test from the pathologist. If anyone tests positive in the second test, then we can charge them in court and they’ll be dismissed,” he said.

Dev said so far about 80 police personnel throughout the state were suspected of involvement in drug abuse and on their targeted list.

“We’ll perform urine tests on those whom we suspect are involved in drugs,” he said, adding that the police would perform random urine tests for drugs among personnel.

Dev said the police are also aware of drug abuse in longhouses, particularly in rural areas.

“There is no use for us to keep arresting drug addicts if there is a continuous supply of drugs. So we are also focusing on drug syndicates.

“I have made it very clear to my men that shortage of narcotics personnel is not an excuse. We can always get other units to assist,” he said, adding that he plans to perform integrated operations with other police departments to combat drug abuse in the state.