Western Australia’s government gave police back ‘temporary’ powers that it had during the COVID pandemic, but this time to stop drug trafficking — until 2028.
The police can now search any vehicle at 22 different “search zones” locations anytime they have “reasonable suspicion.”
The search zones are at major ports, border checkpoints, rail crossings, and airports.
“These laws are about saving lives, about preventing drugs from coming into Western Australia,” Premier Mark McGowan said.
“They’re based upon the evidence over COVID of what worked.”
McGowan further said the increased police powers during COVID reduced the amount of meth found in sewerage systems by as much as 73%.
“It was a remarkable thing that occurred, it showed that having some enhanced restriction on your borders will reduce drug-related crime and drugs in our community,” he said.
The media statement released by Western Australia’s government added that police could only conduct these searches in public places.
The statement also indicates that a Corruption and Crime Commission oversight committee will be established to safeguard against police taking advantage of the “extra powers.”
The police powers are modelled after what police were able to do during the COVID ’emergency’, drawing critics to point out that governments don’t like giving up control once they get it.
“I tried to warn you,” tweeted Rebel News correspondent Avi Yemini who works in Australia.
“Mark McGowan is now bringing back pandemic-style powers for other uses indefinitely. Once a dictator, always a dictator.”
In January 2022, when police had the same powers because of COVID, they caught three men trying to bring in over $100 million worth of methamphetamine into the state.
Australia was known for having some of the toughest COVID restrictions over its citizens, much like Canada. In 2021, Australia even passed a bill that opened the door for forced vaccinations.