Tag: Mrs Roberts
WA Police have performed a backflip on drug amnesty bins, reversing a weekend decision to not use them just hours before New Year’s Eve festivities in the state get into full swing.
- Both senior police and the Police Minister recently dismissed the need for drug bins
- Commissioner Chris Dawson now says they help people make better decisions
- But authorities continue to oppose pill testing at music festivals in WA
Only two days after WA Police dismissed the bins as “not a good option”, Commissioner Chris Dawson confirmed they would be in place for three major music festivals over the coming days.
The bins would allow people to dispose of drugs without the threat of being charged, with authorities saying officers would not question or approach people placing anything in them.
The decision to use the bins marked a substantial policy reversal from just two days ago, when Police Minister Michelle Roberts said, “it is not something we are looking at” when asked what the Government’s stance was.
Drug bins ‘not a good option’
Commander Greg Knott, who is overseeing the WA Police New Year’s Eve operation, had also emphatically stated the bins would not be used.
“On the last occasion [they were used] there were only 12 pills dropped into those bins, so one would say it’s not a good option for us at the moment,” Commander Knott said on Sunday.
But Commissioner Dawson today announced WA Police had reviewed that decision, deciding to use them for the Origin, Ice Cream Factory and Seasons music festivals.
“The police force has a duty to protect the community and it is my view that drug amnesty bins can assist in one way in people not making a bad decision,” he said.
“It is not the sole answer but it can incentivise someone to make a right decision.”
Hundreds of tablets seized at festival
Commissioner Dawson said the decision followed an “alarming” number of drug incidents at the ongoing Ice Cream Factory event in Northbridge, where 234 people have been arrested for drug possession and eight charged with dealing illicit substances since the festival began on December 13.
More than 300 tablets have been seized during the festival’s first two and a half weeks, and there have been two non-fatal overdoses.
About 25,000 people are expected to attend the three festivals where the amnesty bins will be in place over the coming days.
The amnesty bins were also used at least year’s Origin festival.
Mrs Roberts backed the latest decision, despite having argued against amnesty bins just days earlier.
“I commend the West Australian Police Force for taking a proactive stance,” she said.
But Commissioner Dawson said police would not change their stance on pill testing, which WA authorities continued to oppose.
“We are not in the business of quality-testing for drug dealers,” he said.