Thursday, November 29, 2012

Investigation into police use of Memorial Park to cremate cannabis

The Environment Protection Authority in Australia is investigating police use of a crematorium to destroy drugs. Police use the Forest Lawn Memorial Park crematorium in Leppington, New South Wales to destroy drugs up to 10 times a year.

Forest Lawn communications manager Karl Wolfenden said both Green Valley and Liverpool police commands had used the facility to destroy illicit substances such as cannabis "for years". "We respond when needed," he said. Police requests are recorded but no fee is charged.

"Each time, the burns have been conducted by police, not Forest Lawn staff, and there are several officers there to supervise," Mr Wolfenden said. "We don't touch the evidence bags or see them opened before they are destroyed." He said news the Environment Protection Authority was investigating the practice came as a surprise.

"We thought we were helping law enforcement and the community," he said. A police spokeswoman said the drugs were destroyed at the crematorium "based on advice that the location was an approved facility". An EPA spokeswoman confirmed police use of crematoriums was being investigated.

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