Criminals unite to deal drugs

Criminals unite to deal drugs

Bikie gangs and other criminal syndicates are increasingly joining forces to flood Australian streets with ice and other drugs, new intelligence gathered by Australia's peak law enforcement body shows.

Australian Crime Commission boss Chris Dawson said crime groups which had traditionally been enemies were putting aside their differences to work together on the importation and distribution of illicit drugs, to spread the risks and boost their profits.

"There's an awful lot of distrust but they'll work with whoever they think they can make the best deal," he said.

A former WA Police deputy commissioner, Mr Dawson has marked his first 12 months as chief executive of the national crime intelligence agency.

The biggest challenges facing WA and Australia from a crime perspective were methylamphetamine - commonly known as ice - and terrorism, he said.

"Aside from the harm ice has on the addicts, it's the crime connected with that which is also quite pervasive," Mr Dawson said.

There had been murders, road crashes, sexual assaults and domestic violence incidents directly related to ice users and the drug also drove volume crime as addicts stole to fund their habits, Mr Dawson explained.

Serious and organised crime costs the Australian community about $45 billion annually, according to fresh ACC analysis, - about three times the previous $15 billion estimates.

While the higher figure is the result of a more detailed economic assessment rather than an explosion in crime, Mr Dawson said it was important for Australians to understand the economic impact.

"It's not just about people who should be paying taxes, it's the harm visited on all Australians," he said. "There's the cost to our health sector, justice sector, the cost to imprison people and the often, at times, hidden costs in terms of mental anguish."

Despite authorities making record seizures and arrests, particularly in the past five years, supplies of methylamphetamine showed no signs of abating.