Tech to break the ice menace

Jessica CuthbertAlbany Advertiser
Great Southern District superintendent Ian Clarke. Pic Jessica Cuthbert
Camera IconGreat Southern District superintendent Ian Clarke. Pic Jessica Cuthbert

A high-tech new “police station on wheels” will help Great Southern police in the fight against the scourge of meth.

The district’s new mobile operation caravan was handed over by the Perth-based Drug and Firearms Squad last Thursday.

It comes with a piece of equipment which can X-ray vehicles to detect hidden drugs.

Great Southern Superintendent Ian Clarke said the van would significantly boost the police force’s ability to target drug trafficking in the Great Southern.

“Regional WA suffers under the weight of that drug disease,” Supt Clarke said.

“It’s one of our high priorities — targeting people distributing drugs in our community. We are doing everything we can to stop that.

“Meth ... it’s an insidious disease in the community. It destroys families and creates problems within the community through volume in crime.”

The caravan’s high-tech equipment:
Camera IconThe caravan’s high-tech equipment: Credit: Jessica Cuthbert

Supt Clarke said the van would help police stop drugs entering the region’s towns.

Motorists could expect to see it set up in “even the most unusual locations”, he said.

“It also gives us a greater capability of emergency management to assist in searches, missing people, fire and floods,” he said.

“It’s really impressive equipment. It will give us more flexibility and capability.”

Acting inspector Paul Matthews from the Drugs and Firearms Squad said the van was designed to help police check vehicles and drivers. “These vans have been so effective in metro areas ... and on drug transit routes that we have identified, in attempts to intercept any sort of movement of illicit products throughout the region,” he said.

“It enables police to be very mobile.

“We can identity those drug transit routes, we can deploy at any time, day or night ... it’s a police station on wheels to deal with whatever we intercept.”

The X-ray machine, worth almost $80,000, can search parts of a vehicle which are hard to get to.

The TruNarc machine can identity a substance and give results of what that substance is instantly.

“The X-ray machine can help us reach hard-to-reach places,” Insp. Matthews said.

“As you can imagine there are lots of places that people can hide drugs — large or small quantities.”

The X-Ray machine.
Camera IconThe X-Ray machine. Credit: Jessica Cuthbert

Palmerston prevention officer Thomas Dimer said he was pleased by the addition to the Great Southern’s fight against drugs.

“This is a great initiative. It’s going to be awesome to see the positive impact having one of these in our region,” he said.

“I’m hoping there will be less meth in our region, brought into our region. It’s a problem and the less drugs coming into the region, the better.”

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