New weapon in war against drugs

POLICE officers are taking their fight against drugs and weapons to Ipswich nightclubs as they strive to make the town a safer place for young revellers.

POLICE officers are taking their fight against drugs and weapons to Ipswich nightclubs as they strive to make the town a safer place for young revellers.

On Saturday nightclub staff and Suffolk Constabulary worked together as officers deployed Ion Track and the portable metal detector arch during an operation at Mojo's, previously Quilt.

The Ion Track Itemiser 3 is a drug-testing device, first launched in Suffolk in May during National Tackling Drugs Week, which can detect even the smallest traces of illegal substances on any object from hands to money.

The aim of the metal detector arch was to prevent anyone attempting to carry knives or other weapons into the drinking venue.

During the operation there were four positive readings, one for cannabis, one for cocaine and two for heroine, four people were searched, but no drugs or weapons were discovered.

Pc Ian Rafferty, who briefed officers involved in the operation ahead of the equipment being deployed, said: “The operation was a visible deterrent to people who may carry weapons or drugs.

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“People come into the town to have a good time and we want to reduce the opportunity for people to carry and use weapons, and to stop them harming themselves with drugs, or passing them to others.”

The machine works by officers brushing the surface with a swab, which is then fed into the Itemiser revealing any illegal substances such as cocaine, crack, heroin and ecstasy.

Ion Track has been used at a number of venues in Ipswich and most recently on Friday October 3 at Liquid. Eight traces of drugs were detected and one person was found in possession of a small quantity of drugs.

The Ion Track is used in partnership with the licensed premises and as a condition of admission and the metal detecting arch was deployed for the first time on the same day at Liquid. No knives or other weapons were found there either.

The use of this equipment is not restricted to town centre venues and officers will be trained on their use so they can be deployed elsewhere in the county.

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