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About Us

The team at Chemical Operations Group are nationally and internationally recognised experts in their fields and bring decades of real-life experience in illicit drugs, clandestine drug manufacture, forensic investigation, law enforcement, intelligence, regulation, drug contamination, drug policy and CBRN planning and emergency management.

About Our Training

While Law Enforcement tackles the criminality and anti-social impacts of illicit drugs on a daily basis, many other Responsible Authorities, including other First Responders, Government and Public Health Authorities, NGO's and a range of other Professional Groups are also called upon to manage a range of issues associated with the illicit drug problem.

Whether from the operation of a clandestine drug laboratory, other illicit drug related activity or the operation of a drug, smoke or grow house, the physical and chemical hazards associated with these environments are real and potentially serious.

To effectively manage illicit drug issues or to safely work in these hazardous environments requires appropriate training. 

Traditionally, this type of specialist training has not been offered outside Law Enforcement, but in the face of an ever-increasing drug issue in the community, the need for expert training to support other Government Agencies and Professional Groups and to work collaboratively to resolve the many serious post crime-scene public health and environment issues has never been more pressing.


Lead Experts and Trainers
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Paul Newell FRACI CCHEM

Paul is an Australian and internationally recognised expert in illicit drug manufacture and drug contamination and is a subject matter expert for the 'United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime' (UNODC). Paul is a co-author of the UNODC guidelines for the Safe Handling and Disposal of Chemicals from Illicit Drug Manufacture, and the principal author of the UNODC Illustrated Disposal Guide for the management and disposal of illicit drug related chemicals in remote environments.

Paul is also the principal author of the Australian national guidelines for the 'Remediation of Clandestine Drug Laboratory Sites' and is a contributing author to the Western Australian Clandestine Drug Laboratory Management Guidelines as well as a number of specialist operational safety and technical procedures for illicit drug related environments ranging from meth labs to hydroponic cannabis grow operations.  

Paul holds degrees in chemistry and environmental science as well as formal qualifications in forensic investigation and intelligence and is a Fellow of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute. Paul has more than 20 years' experience working in the field of illicit drugs, clandestine drug manufacture, illicit drug intelligence, law enforcement, chemical and precursor diversion and Government regulation. 

 Paul brings his unique experience in and the field of illicit drugs, combined with a passion for training and teaching, and provides an engaging insight into the chemistry, forensic science, toxicology and human health consequences of illicit drug manufacture.


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Paul Newell FRACI CCHEM

Paul is an Australian and internationally recognised expert in illicit drug manufacture and drug contamination and is a subject matter expert for the 'United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime' (UNODC). Paul is a co-author of the UNODC guidelines for the Safe Handling and Disposal of Chemicals from Illicit Drug Manufacture, and the principal author of the UNODC Illustrated Disposal Guide for the management and disposal of illicit drug related chemicals in remote environments.

Paul is also the principal author of the Australian national guidelines for the Remediation of Clandestine Drug Laboratory Sites and is a contributing author to the Western Australian Clandestine Drug Laboratory Management Guidelines as well as a number of specialist operational safety and technical procedures for illicit drug related environments ranging from meth labs to hydroponic cannabis grow operations.  

Paul holds degrees in chemistry and environmental science as well as formal qualifications in forensic investigation and intelligence and is a Fellow of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute. Paul has more than 20 years' experience working in the field of illicit drugs, clandestine drug manufacture, illicit drug intelligence, law enforcement, chemical and precursor diversion and Government regulation. 

Paul brings his unique experience in the field of illicit drugs, combined with a passion for training and teaching, and provides an engaging insight into the chemistry, forensic science, toxicology and human health consequences of illicit drug manufacture.


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Keith Norman FRACI CCHEM

Keith is one of Australia's most experienced and leading forensic scientists and CBRN chemists with more than 20 years' experience as a forensic scientist. Keith holds a degree in Chemistry from Curtin University and a Masters in Clinical Biochemistry from the University of Western Australia. Keith is a Fellow of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute and a member of the Clandestine Laboratory Investigating Chemists Association.

Keith has been working continuously as a forensic scientist since 1997 working in research, analytical, law enforcement and response roles in Australia and Internationally through South East Asia and in his current role working in Afghanistan with the United Nations. His career has covered areas including toxicology, illicit drugs, clandestine laboratory investigation, explosives, crime scene response and CBRN. Keith has published a number of papers as well as being a co-author for a number of technical references and books. 

Keith is one of the most highly respected forensic scientist and illicit drug experts in Australia and Internationally. Keith brings a wealth of knowledge and technical expertise to his training role along with a passion for teaching and education in the field of illicit drugs and chemistry.
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Keith Norman FRACI CCHEM

Keith is one of Australia's most experienced and leading forensic scientists and CBRN chemists with more than 20 years' experience as a forensic scientist. Keith holds a degree in Chemistry from Curtin University and a Masters in Clinical Biochemistry from the University of Western Australia. Keith is a Fellow of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute and a member of the Clandestine Laboratory Investigating Chemists Association.

Keith has been working continuously as a forensic scientist since 1997 working in research, analytical, law enforcement and response roles in Australia and Internationally through South East Asia and in his current role working in Afghanistan with the United Nations. His career has covered areas including toxicology, illicit drugs, clandestine laboratory investigation, explosives, crime scene response and CBRN. Keith has published a number of papers as well as being a co-author for a number of technical references and books. 

Keith is one of the most highly respected forensic scientist and illicit drug experts in Australia and Internationally. Keith brings a wealth of knowledge and technical expertise to his training role along with a passion for teaching and education in the field of illicit drugs and chemistry.
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Dr John Edwards

Dr Edwards is a long standing and respected subject matter expert, academic and lecturer in Public and Environmental Health and has a passion for teaching and education, regularly lecturing at both Edith Cowan and Curtin Universities in Western Australia. John holds a PhD in Public Health, Master's degrees in Urban and Regional Planning and Business Administration, and a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Health and is also a registered Building Surveyor. John brings more than 20 years' of hands on experience across multiple government portfolios including Public and Environmental Health, HAZMAT and emergency response, emergency management as well as extensive experience in government and regulatory planning and development at both State and Local Government levels.

In addition to John's work in Public and Environmental Health, John has also worked extensively in the regulation of hazardous materials, emergency management and has authored numerous emergency management and response plans for a range of State and Local Government agencies.

John has worked extensively in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health as well as in remote Indigenous development projects. John has been the recipient a number of State and National awards including the Department of Fire and Emergency Services Authority (FESA), Community Safety Meritorious Certificate for his services to the West Australian Community.
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Dr John Edwards

Dr Edwards is a long standing and respected subject matter expert, academic and lecturer in Public and Environmental Health and has a passion for teaching and education, regularly lecturing at both Edith Cowan and Curtin Universities in Western Australia. John holds a PhD in Public Health, Master's degrees in Urban and Regional Planning and Business Administration, and a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Health and is also a registered Building Surveyor. John brings more than 20 years' of hands on experience across multiple government portfolios including Public and Environmental Health, HAZMAT and emergency response, emergency management as well as extensive experience in government and regulatory planning and development at both State and Local Government levels.

In addition to John's work in Public and Environmental Health, John has also worked extensively in the regulation of hazardous materials, emergency management and has authored numerous emergency management and response plans for a range of State and Local Government agencies.

John has worked extensively in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health as well as in remote Indigenous development projects. John has been the recipient a number of State and National awards including the Department of Fire and Emergency Services Authority (FESA), Community Safety Meritorious Certificate for his services to the West Australian Community.