Bendigo could receive drug-detecting dogs to crack down on the ice problem

DRUG-DETECTING police dogs could assist officers in Bendigo as the state government ramps up its approach to tackling the ice problem.

Police and Emergency Services Minister Kim Wells has announced the government would roll-out 11 drug dogs across the state to help crack-down on ice and drug use.

Eight drug dogs, called passive alert detection dogs, will be based in major country towns for the first time, while three more will go to the metropolitan region at a cost of $1.6 million across four years.

Specific regional towns are not yet determined, but a spokeswoman for Mr Wells confirmed towns in the western and eastern policing regions were possible locations for the dogs.

Mr Wells' office flagged towns in the western region, including Ballarat, Geelong and Mildura as well as the eastern region, which encompasses Shepparton, Wodonga and Seymour, as potential areas of attention.

The spokeswoman confirmed Bendigo was within the western policing region.

The announcement comes as the parliamentary inquiry into methamphetamine, known as ice, tables what promises to be one of the most extensive reports on the drug in the country to parliament on Wednesday morning. 

The 1000-page report contains 50 recommendations on how the government should reduce the drug's harm.

Mr Wells said the dogs - capable of detecting ice, speed, heroin, cannabis, ecstasy and GHB - will allow police to carry-out more raids and break-up more clandestine laboratories.

"Make no mistake - if you make or deal in drugs you will be caught. Those additional PAD dogs will assist Victoria Police in targeted drug operations and the execution of search warrants across the state," Mr Wells said.

Victoria Police has 45 dogs in the squad used for tasks such as firearms and explosive detection, search and rescue and tracking. At the moment there are nine drug dogs. 

"For the majority of the time, the dogs live with their handlers at different locations around the state. They are deployed daily to assist with police matters," Dog Squad Acting Inspector Charmaine Hosking said.

"We welcome the government's announcement which provides the Dog Squad with more resources to detect and fight the issue of drugs in our society."


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