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Police going digital

 

Police are rolling out a new drug-testing device, Lumi, nationwide over the next two months. PHOTOS/ NZ POLICE

New Zealand Police is launching a drug scanning tool nationwide just weeks after 12 Wairarapa people were hospitalised for unwittingly consuming fentanyl.

Police said the scanning tool, Lumi, could immediately identify with 95 per cent accuracy if an unknown substance was methamphetamine, cocaine, or MDMA.

The scanning tool could not determine if a substance was fentanyl.

Police said the tool would provide better information to an officer about the most appropriate course of action to take with the drug holder.

Assistant Commissioner Lauano Sue Schwalger said the pilot showed people were more likely to disclose what the substance was when police had the tool.

“This meant the officer could then directly assess if they were more suitable for a warning, health referral, or to go through the court process.”

The scanning tool was designed by police and Environmental Science and Research [ESR] after police identified an increased need for testing unknown substances.

Schwalger said 150 devices would be rolled out to all police districts over the next two months.

However, police could not provide an exact date for when Wairarapa’s frontline staff would have access to the drug scanning tool.

“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.

“We will be evaluating this nationwide rollout with a view to further developing the Lumi devices to identify other substances if needed,” Schwalger said.

Police said the scanning tool would allow police district leadership to better identify harmful drug hotspots and trends and help with deploying resources where they’re needed most.

Schwalger said the scanning tool would not replace other drug and alcohol testing devices, but it was a practical addition for reducing drug harm.

Meanwhile, a rural crime prevention app is being trialled in North Canterbury.

Senior Constable Tony Maw said only 31 per cent of rural people who experienced crime reported it to police.

He said of that 31 per cent, 47 per cent, didn’t improve security after the incident.

“These workshops are a great opportunity for farmers to share prevention strategies and learn from each other.”

Grace Prior
Grace Prior
Grace Prior is a senior reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age with a keen interest in environmental issues. Grace is the paper’s health reporter and regularly covers the rural sector, weather, Greater Wellington Regional Council, and coastal stories.

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