A dramatic fall in the number of clandestine methamphetamine laboratories uncovered by WA Police does not appear to have reduced rampant demand in Perth.
Organised crime squad Det-Sen. Sgt Rob Scantlebury said an operation launched in January to target known and potential repeat and addicted drugmakers had driven a 44 per cent fall in clan lab discoveries.
Though almost all related to addicts using improvised equipment to make small amounts of the drug, they posed a risk to those nearby.
Det-Sen. Sgt Scantlebury said the people using them were not trained chemists and did not always appreciate the dangers.
He said it was easier in the past to commit similar crimes while on bail but strategies to monitor offenders helped stop reoffending.
Some people were caught with a clan lab three or four times.
National Drug Research Institute director Professor Steve Allsop said finding fewer clan labs did not seem to correspond with a reduction in demand. "Unfortunately there is still an appetite for methamphetamine," he said.
Professor Allsop said it was important people recognised the significant potential harm from the drug, including mental and physical health issues.
Det-Sen. Sgt Scantlebury said WA was highly attractive to illicit drug suppliers and organised crime because of high disposable incomes.
Of the 56 clandestine labs detected this year, only one had children present compared with 19 last year.
Police Minister Liza Harvey attributed this to mandatory sentences for having a child present at a clan lab.