Mr Dawson said when it did end, he wanted officers to continue to have a strong presence at the border with powers similar to those granted to biodiversity officers searching vehicles for fruit.
“There’s another pest out there and it’s called meth, and that doesn’t just destroy crops, economics and livelihoods, it destroys people’s lives,” he said.
“I’m not saying we stop absolutely every vehicle, what I’m saying is if we can refine the powers similar to what we do to protect the state’s biodiversity – meth is actually just as, or even more destructive for our community.
“We know it’s working through this state of emergency, why would we not want to stop meth coming in?”
Existing laws currently allow police to stop and search a vehicle if there is reasonable suspicion.
New powers introduced in 2017 also allow police to randomly search vehicles along a declared drug transit route.
Transit routes can be declared by a district superintendent who reasonably suspects a road is being used for drug distribution, however, the additional search powers are temporary, only lasting up to a fortnight, and limit the number of routes targeted at any one time to three.
Mr Dawson has hinted at lobbying for the powers to become permanent by seeking to introduce a legislative reform package through the Minister for Police and the Attorney General following the March 13 state election.
“I’m not saying we want to live in a police state, we want to live in a state where we can actually wipe out drug traffickers, that’s the aim I’ve got,” he said.
“I’m also not naive, I know drugs will come through air, through sea, by road, by post – but with the success we have seen over the past year, why would we not take this opportunity to build it even stronger?
“In the most recent six months, we’ve seized nine trucks, nearly $50 million, and a whole stack of meth and that’s reducing crime.”
Mr McGowan confirmed on Wednesday the state government was not considering extending WA’s G2G entry pass after the pandemic was over, instead clarifying he supported an increased police presence at border checkpoint.
“If we can stop bananas, avocados and tomatos coming in, surely we should be able to stop meth, cocain and heroin,” he said.
Liberal Democrat MLC Aaron Stonehouse, whose party promotes civil libertarianism, on Tuesday flagged concerns over any increase to police tracking powers.
“Giving police a blank cheque to surveil and control our movement, that is a serious risk to our civil liberties and our freedoms,” he said.
State opposition leader Zak Kirkup described any mass monitoring or tracking of people entering WA as an “immense overreach” of power.
Heather McNeill is a senior journalist at WAtoday.
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