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Indigenous leader hopes the new drug transit laws will stem the flow of drugs and alcohol

Date posted: 13 July 2016

The leader of an Aboriginal community in Western Australia (WA) is hoping tough new laws giving police the power to crackdown on drug routes in the region will stem the flow of drugs and alcohol.

Ms Patricia Riley of the Aboriginal community of Pandanus Park, 60 kilometres south of Derby in WA, has welcomed the proposed laws.

Legislation was introduced to the WA State Parliament recently, that will allow officers to randomly search vehicles along roads known for drug trafficking. In addition, a 5 kilometre drug radius can be declared around a community, mine site or town.

'It is about time, something has to be enforced harder into people going to traffic because it is coming into our communities and we cannot stop it,' Ms Riley told ABC Kimberley radio. But Ms Riley also hoped that staff shortages in police were addressed because their calls for help took time to be answered. 'If they have more police officers as well that would be great as every time you ring they are short staffed,' she said.

Police Minister Liza Harvey said the changes would make it significantly harder for drug dealers to smuggle products into WA and distribute them.

'We are now starting to see methamphetamine moving into some of our very vulnerable, remote Aboriginal communities, particularly along the South Australia, Northern Territory and WA border. This legislation will allow police to put a 5km radius around those communities and stop and search any vehicle coming into the community and search for drugs.'

Regional WA police will have operational support from Perth with drug sniffer dogs and the like, she said. Under the new system, police will only have to show they reasonably suspect that a road is being used for drug distribution before stopping and searching vehicles. Ms Harvey said she did not expect country road users would be majorly inconvenienced. 'It will be a small inconvenience for motorists but the benefit to the community in seizing methamphetamine from these dealers and getting the dealers and traffickers behind bars is significant.'

Source: ABC News

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Last updated: 13 July 2016
 
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Australia's National Research Centre on AOD Workforce Development National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre National Drug Research Institute