Drug detection dogs to be based in regional cities

Drug detecting police dogs will be based in major regional centres in Victoria as the government ramps up its approach to tackling the ice problem.

It 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 this morning.

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

In the meantime, the Minister for Police and Emergency Services Kim Wells said 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 over four years.

Police are yet to determine which towns the dogs will go to, but Mr Wells’ office flagged towns in the western region, which includes Ballarat, Geelong or Mildura, and the eastern region, which encompasses Shepparton, Wodonga and Seymour.

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,” Mr Wells said.

“Those additional dogs will assist Victoria Police in targeted drug operations across the state.”