Police crack down on drugs on West Australian mine sites

WA Police have vowed to crack down on illicit drug distribution and drug use in regional WA engaging with members of the oil, gas and mining industry. 

The first phase of the new approach started on Tuesday in partnership with Fortescue Metals Group. 

Police officers flew into a FMG worksite in the Pilbara to conduct drug detection activities on people arriving at the work site by aircraft. 

This work was carried out in partnership with FMG management and security staff. 

Regional WA commander Murray Smalpage said the support of industry members is important in combating illicit drug use in regional WA. 

“WA Police and industry members have a shared interest in removing drugs from work sites," Commander Smalpage said. 

"From our perspective it is about law enforcement and community protection, and for industry members it is about the health and safety of their staff. 

“As with any new approach to policing, the first time the new approach is used sets the scene for future operations, and to have FMG on board in such a pro-active and collaborative manner has made a big difference”. 

Mines and Petroleum minister Bill Marmion has backed the zero tolerance approach to illicit drugs on WA mine sites. 

"This is not only a police matter, but a major safety issue," Mr Marmion said. 

“To use or supply drugs on Western Australian mines and petroleum projects is potentially deadly for workers handling massive and often complex machinery.”

Mr Marmion said resource industry workers should all be aware of their employers’ policies on illicit drug use.

Under the Mines Safety Inspection Act 1994, companies are obliged to provide safe work systems.

Commander Smalpage said future operations are planned with other members of the industry. 

“Policing is about being anywhere, anytime, and this new approach should send a clear message to anyone considering taking illicit drugs to remote worksites that they are not outside our reach," he said. 

“We won’t be saying where we are a going, or when we are going, but one thing is for sure – this new partnership with industry members will make it much easier for us to arrive on your worksite. 

“A person under the influence of illicit drugs is not just a danger to themselves, they are a danger to their workmates and they are a danger to the community they work in."

On the first day eight flights were targeted arriving from Perth, Port Headland, Karratha, Fitzroy Crossing and Darwin with more than 370 passengers involved. 

Anyone with information about illicit drugs is asked to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000. 

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