TERRITORY police will be given tough – and likely controversial – new powers to search vehicles without a warrant in an effort to combat smugglers bringing the drug ice from interstate.
Under the plan, which sources said would be announced in the coming days, roads from South Australia and Queensland would be designated as “drug transit routes” where trucks and cars could be raided.
It is understood the move comes in response to intelligence that more than 80 per cent of the drug ice in the Northern Territory is brought from across state lines.
Giving police the power to effectively establish border checkpoints, likely on the Stuart, Barkly and Carpentaria highways, is directly targeted at domestic smuggling operations. The move is deliberately designed to be a tough response to the ongoing and destructive impact of ice.
Submissions to an NT Government select committee revealed the extent of the drug in the Northern Territory.
Community groups said professionals and schoolchildren were using ice in growing numbers.
The drug was sweeping through regional communities “like wildfire”, the select committee was told.
Currently police require a reasonable suspicion, and approval from a magistrate, to search a vehicle.
Changes might concern civil libertarians, who would argue that drivers should not be stopped and searched without justification.