Ending the war on drugs will require a united effort between the police and community, according to NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione.
Mr Scipione made the comment during a visit to Dubbo on Monday, as part of a farewell tour before he retires in two weeks.
The police commissioner said drugs, in particular methamphetamine, alongside terrorism and domestic violence were the biggest crime issues currently affecting NSW.
While people such as former federal police commissioner Mick Palmer have recently called for drugs to be decriminalised, Mr Scipione said it was not a view he supported.
“What I do know as a police officer is that we need to continue to enforce the law,” Mr Scipione said.
“When you speak to parents of children who have died just taking one tablet, you realise that no good comes from these drugs. There's no such thing as a recreational drug when it can take your life.”
The police need to be part of the solution, the commissioner said, however they weren’t the only solution.
“We can never arrest our way out of these types of problems… If we're going to bring about a solution to this problem we're going to have to do it together and that means we have to drive down the demand for the drug and that comes as a result of not just police action but community action,” Mr Scipione said.
The ice scourge had been a nightmare for police, and continued to be a nightmare, he said.
The 58-year-old joined the NSW Police Force in 1980, became a deputy commissioner in 2002 before succeeding Ken Moroney as police commissioner in August 2007.
He will have been the longest serving police commissioner in NSW since Norman Allan held the post between 1962 and 1972.
“The greatest privilege that I've got is just having been a police officer. Not a commissioner, just having been a member of this force,” Mr Scipione said.
It was not a sad time, he said.
“I’m not sad that my journey is coming to an end, I’m glad that I had the opportunity to do it. From my perspective this has been wonderful.”
NSW Deputy Commissioner Geoff McKechnie said he couldn’t have asked for more from Mr Scipione.
“The commissioner has always been here for us in tines of crisis and has led us in fantastic style,” he said.
“We're going to miss that but we'll work with whoever takes up the role to make sure we continue to address the issues that are important to our communities and keeping people safe in NSW.”
Mr Scipione retires as police commissioner in April.