On the blog: Tackling our drug trade in the ACT

image of Detective Acting Superintendent Marcus Boorman

ACT Policing's Detective Acting Superintendent Criminal Investigations Marcus Boorman came to the Australian Federal Police from Victoria Police where he worked in areas including general duties, covert operations, drugs, arson and homicide. In 2004 he joined the International Deployment Group and worked for seven years in The Solomon Islands, East Timor (Timor Leste) and Christmas Island, undertaking sensitive and complex investigations. He was also deployed for the Christchurch earthquakes and Queensland floods in a search, recovery and security capacity.

Detective Acting Superintendent Boorman has received a number of awards and recognition during his career including the National Police Service Medal, the Humanitarian Service Medal and the Police Overseas Service Medal; a Commissioner Group Citation for Hazardous Overseas Service; a Presidential Commendation; and a Japanese Government Citation.

I've been very fortunate in my career to have experienced a variety of police roles around the world, each of these having an investigative focus; domestically, nationally and internationally.

As Detective Acting Superintendent of ACT Policing's Criminal Investigations, one of my priorities is to target the manufacturers and the dealers of illicit drugs in the ACT: the traffickers that prey on the vulnerable and don't care about the harm they cause.

Drugs don't discriminate. I've seen people who appear to have everything get involved in drugs; eventually their world spirals out of control with devastating effects on their families.

Cannabis arrests and seizures account for the greatest proportion of illicit drug arrests for the ACT. ACT Policing approach this problem via dedicated and targeted operations such as Operation Armscote which was a highly successful operation seeing more than 900 cannabis plants seized with an estimated street value of more than $6 million dollars.

In June/July this year, following a six week operation, we seized more than $3 million worth of drugs, cash, equipment and property as proceeds of crime. This was greatly assisted by the Crime Stoppers ‘Dob in a Dealer' campaign.

Everyone plays a role in the fight against drugs including governments, law enforcement, health, education, industry, non-government organisations and the community.

I thank the community for their ongoing help, working with police to put these offenders before court and breaking the chain of supply. They are our eyes and ears.

The ACT is generally influenced by illicit drug trends being observed within New South Wales and Victoria. The ice problem— as with any drug— relies upon basic supply and demand principles. As a drug, ice is particularly destructive both to the users and the community around them.

Dealers should keep looking over their shoulder as they can expect a lot more visits from police in the future. We find one of the most effective ways to disrupt business is to seize their assets, which can sometimes mean more to traffickers than a prison sentence.

In my 27 years as an investigative police officer I've seen a lot.  I can't say I've seen many good news stories when it comes to criminal investigations but I can say I've admired the resilience of people over the years that bounced back from despair and found the courage to get on with their lives.

To me, policing isn't all about locking up crooks; it's about doing what's right, ensuring that within our community we feel safe and can appreciate the good things in life. This is a luxury some around the world just don't have due to the absence of law and order. 

It certainly makes you appreciate life. As they say – don't sweat the small stuff as everything can change in an instant and your life may never be the same.

This is the best career anyone can ask for. What I've learnt from policing around the world is priceless and something that I cherish. The best thing about this job; no day is ever the same. You are always learning. When you solve a crime or help someone get their life back together, it's worth it.