Bendigo police support ice sniffer dogs

RELATED: Bendigo could receive drug-detecting dogs 

DETECTION: Leading Senior Constable Kathy Koop with her PAD dog. Picture: THE AGE

DETECTION: Leading Senior Constable Kathy Koop with her PAD dog. Picture: THE AGE

CENTRAL Victorian Response Unit Sergeant Mick Peckham says drug-detecting dogs are an invaluable resource that he would welcome at the Bendigo Police Station.

Sergeant Peckham's comments come after The Law Reform, Drugs and Crime Prevention Committee released its report on the prevalence of crystal methamphetamine - known as "ice", and the social problems it causes - across the state. 

The report found there had been a significant increase in the use of ice across the state, with those who used the drug doing so more frequently.

It reported four clandestine drug labs were discovered in central Victoria this year, in Eaglehawk, Gisborne, Castlemaine and Echuca. 

Police and Emergency Services Minister Kim Wells announced the government would deploy 11 drug dogs across the state to crack down on the trafficking and use of ice.

Sergeant Peckham said his unit was responsible for investigating drug-related crime and occasionally used 'borrowed' dogs when completing investigations.

He said dogs were very effective at detecting drugs.

"It's my belief that the utilisation of drug dogs is an invaluable asset to us and if available we can certainly utilise them in a practical sense," he said.

He said dogs were taken to properties police suspected of being used for illicit drug cultivation, trafficking and taking.

"We secure all the people at the place and the animals they may have," he said.

"The drug dog goes through the address and will conduct a search with his handler. If he picks up anything he sits and indicates there are drugs in the vicinity." 

"We then do a physical search of the area."

Sergeant Peckham said the vast majority of people police arrested for ice-related crimes were young, in line with the report's finding the most common age group taking ice were people in their twenties.

He said people's reasons for taking the drug varied.

"Some say they have chronic and constant pain, some people don't like the effects of alcohol," he said.

"There's no one reason as to why people take it - it just is what it is."

Bendigo Community Health Services chief executive Kim Sykes said it was important the community tackled ice-related problems through a number of means.

"The police do a really good job and it's important they have the utilities they need and people who have drug problems have the help they need."

"Raising awareness at all levels in our community is important."

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