26 September 2023

Blitz on drugs as prisons reopen

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Operation Revorsio, a drug and contraband search blitz, has been carried out across Western Australia’s custodial facilities by WA Corrective Services.

The blitz coincides with the resumption of social visits for prisoners and the introduction of hefty new penalties for smuggling or attempting to smuggle illicit drugs and other contraband into prisons.

Minister for Corrective Services, Francis Logan said Special Operations Group officers, Drug Detection Unit officers, detector dogs and prison security officers took part in the operation. They were joined by officers of the WA Police Force.

“Officers staffed vehicle checkpoints and conducted dog-assisted searches of vehicles and belongings, as well as carrying out personal searches of visitors,” Mr Logan said.

“A hand-held X-ray device capable of detecting contraband concealed in such places as car doors, tyres and behind steel panels was also trialled.”

He said that under tough new penalties, visitors trying to bring in contraband such as drugs could face a $12,000 fine and 18 months in prison.

“Refusing a search can incur a $6,000 fine and anyone caught loitering around a prison or concealing an article for a prisoner could be fined up to $6,000 and face 12 months’ prison,” Mr Logan said.

“Testing of prisoners during the absence of social visits has shown a fall in illicit drug use in the custodial estate.”

He said State-wide randomised drug prevalence testing of 1,077 prisoners returned nine positive samples in May, compared with 35 positive samples from 1,073 prisoners in February.

“During the suspension of visits, the Drug Detection Unit was diverted to focus on searching prison grounds, cells, common areas and prisoners’ mail,” Mr Logan said.

“About 400 searches were conducted resulting in 14 seizures of prohibited substances and narcotics-related paraphernalia,” he said.

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