Police raided a house in south west Sydney recently and found an object they suspected of being a bomb. But it wasn’t until a major police station had been evacuated, five police officers had been taken to hospital, and a man was arrested amid terrorism fears, that the small device was found to be nothing more than a homemade sex toy.
The story so far
Police located the object during a Friday night raid on the home. Officers looked it over and weren’t keen on taking any chances. They suspected the item was dangerous and seized it.
Police then removed the item from the home and took it back to the police station. However, it wasn’t until the next day that the object was properly examined by both the bomb squad and HAZMAT team who determined it was indeed a “live incendiary device”.
Liverpool Police Station – which adjoins Liverpool Local Court (and, incidentally, is across the road from our Liverpool office) was quickly evacuated while the bomb squad undertook a “controlled detonation” of the device.
As fate would have it, five of the officers involved in the raid fell sick that same night; variously reporting burning skin, irritated eyes and vomiting. Confident the device was indeed a bomb, police formed the view that the officers were suffering from chemical exposure. Ambulances were dispatched to their homes and the officers were taken to hospital for treatment.
The owner of the raided home was subsequently arrested, and informed police under questioning that the device was actually a homemade sex toy.
But the mystery continues, as it’s not clear what made the officers sick. Forensic tests are now being carried out to provide the police with answers..
If the device is indeed a sex toy, why did the officers get so sick? Why would someone make a sex toy out of volatile or toxic substances, if such materials were indeed present? If police thought it was an explosive device, why did they take it back to the police station overnight and only have it tested the next day?
The incident seems to raise more questions than answers.
Meanwhile, police in Queensland are turning their efforts towards curbing the recent explosion (pun intended) in home-made bombs.
The state’s force reports that specially trained police are being called to deal with reports of explosive devices more often than ever, as terrorism fears grip the nation, and indeed the world.
Figures released in Queensland suggest that calls for help to the Explosive Ordnance Response Team increased by 63 per cent between 2005 and 2011, and by a further 160 per cent since 2012.
Although just about anyone can build a bomb with everyday materials and information on the internet, such devices can be incredibly unstable and dangerous, posing a threat to both the community and those who dare to build them.
In a move to combat the problem, Queensland’s Legal Affairs and Community Safety Committee is considering amendments to the Counter-Terrorism and Other Legislation Amendment bill, which would give police more power to deal with suspected explosive devices.
Among other things, the changes would give non-specialised police officers the power to dispose of explosive devices in emergency situations; a power which is currently reserved for trained experts.