- 22 search areas will be created around airports, ports, road and rail entry points into WA
- Police will have extra powers in these locations to detect illicit drugs
- New search areas designed to replicate pandemic conditions, during which meth use in Perth decreased by more than 50 per cent and in regional WA by up to 73 per cent
The McGowan Government will today introduce tough new legislation that gives the Western Australian Police Force an unprecedented edge in targeting meth dealers who make money out of misery by stopping illicit drugs from entering the community.
The proposed amendment to the Misuse of Drugs Act will create 22 permanent search areas around airports, ports, road and rail border crossings into WA.
Police will be given expanded powers to search for illicit drugs inside these 22 zones, including the ability to conduct regular, high visibility searches of vehicles and people using electronic wands and drug detection dogs.
These powers can only be used in public places and some exemptions will apply, such as for people engaging in certain activities.
Several checks and balances have been built into the proposal to prevent any misuse of the new powers, including oversight by the Corruption and Crime Commission.
The Western Australian Police Force has requested the new powers in a bid to strategically replicate the dramatic drop in meth consumption in WA which occurred during the peak of the pandemic.
As stated by Premier Mark McGowan:
“We know there is a direct link between meth and violent crime in our community. That’s why my Government has put more police on the streets than ever before, and why we continue to give our hard working officers what they need to keep our community safe.
“This new law is going to make it tougher than ever for organised crime to bring drugs into Western Australia.
“Hardworking Western Australian families should not have to put up with crime linked to meth use and hard drugs. That’s why we are not just talking tough – we are taking action which will make it tougher than ever for the drug dealers and pushers.”
As stated by Police Minister Paul Papalia:
“This is the latest and arguably most important tool the McGowan Government has given the Western Australian Police Force to fight the organised crime syndicates trying to pump meth and misery into our community.
“These new border search areas will work in conjunction with our new anti-consorting laws and Firearm Prohibition Orders to make Western Australia the most inhospitable place on the planet to import and peddle illicit drugs.
“During the pandemic, wastewater analysis showed meth use in the Perth metro area dropped by 51 per cent. In Albany, it decreased by 73 per cent and in Geraldton, 65 per cent.
“What we are effectively doing is creating a hard meth border.
“Criminals don’t play by the rules. But this Government is changing the game by making new laws.
“My job as Police Minister is to ensure our officers always have the advantage, the edge, and the resources they need to keep our Western Australian community protected, and I make no apology for that.”
As stated by WA Police Commissioner Col Blanch:
“The proposed laws are another new tool in the tool box designed to target traffickers who seek to bring illegal and dangerous drugs into Western Australia.
“Police officers will use all legislative options and a range of capabilities to stop these drugs entering our community and to bring the criminals behind these importations to justice.
“Our officers are using new technology and constantly learning new investigative methodologies to crack down on crime, and new laws can only assist with those efforts.”
Police Minister’s office – 6552 5600