New drug testing equipment that can detect narcotics through plastic and glass will be deployed by South Australia Police.
The department purchased six portable TruNarc analysers, which use low-power laser technology to scan for, and quickly identify, illicit drugs without the need for direct contact.
Detective Chief Inspector John Schrader said the analysers could scan substances through plastic or glass without the need to disturb packaging.
The analysers compare the scan results of the sample against an onboard library of illicit drugs, precursors and common cutting agents, and within a few seconds identify the drug on the display screen.
"The TruNarc is capable of analysing a range of solid, powder or liquid materials and can scan directly through plastic of glass without the need to disturb packaging or interfere with the exhibit material," Detective Chief Inspector Schrader said.
"At times it can be challenging for police to know with certainty what type of drug they encounter during investigations - and suspects are often reticent to disclose that information themselves and sometimes claim that the material is a harmless substance or prescription drug.
"The TruNarc effectively gives police the closest thing to a mobile drug-testing laboratory that provides instantaneous results and enables investigators to proceed with the investigation with certainty."
The analyser will be used as part of Operation Mantle, which investigates street-level drug dealing and trafficking.
Police working in Operation Mantle have been trained and accredited to use the TruNarc analysers in the course of their drug investigation duties.
Jurisdictions within Australia and overseas have adopted processes where the presumptive test results of the TruNarc are accepted by courts in simple possession matters.