Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Police deploy new drug scanner

NZ Police has deployed its latest crime fighting tool to frontline officers – the Lumi drug scanner.

The release of the drug scanning tool follows a successful six-month trial of the device.

Assistant Commissioner Lauano Sue Schwalger says use of the scanner enables more informed Police discretion and significant time and resource savings when carrying out warrantless searches for harmful drugs.

The Lumi drug scan device can immediately identify with 95% accuracy if an unknown substance in clear plastic packaging is methamphetamine, cocaine or MDMA, providing better information to an officer about the most appropriate course of action to take with the drug holder.

“With this level of information provided on the spot, the Pilot showed people were more likely to disclose what the substance was. This meant the officer could then directly assess if they were more suitable for a warning, health referral or to go through the courts process,” Assistant Commissioner Schwalger said.

“This allowed better informed Police discretion, showed that negative samples wouldn’t require further evidential testing and reduced the need for an officer to bring a person back to the station for further questioning.”

Lumi has been co-designed by Police and Environmental Science and Research (ESR), following a Police need to more effectively test unknown substances in the field, and reduce the risk for officers handling them.

The hand-held devices have been built to detect methamphetamine, cocaine or MDMA – the three most prominent illicit substances affecting community drug harm.

150 Lumi devices will be rolled out to all Police districts over the next two months.

Lumi also allows Police district leadership to better identify harmful drug hotspots and trends, and help planning to deploy resources to where they’re needed most.

“With Police intercepting thousands of unknown substances each year, the use of Lumi has shown a real resource saving, and impact on Police’s strategy of community harm reduction,” said Assistant Commissioner Schwalger.

“We will be evaluating this nationwide rollout with a view to further developing the Lumi devices to identify other substances, if needed. Lumi won’t replace other drug and alcohol testing devices and is a practical addition to Police tools for reducing drugs harm in New Zealand.”

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