A NEW Investigations and Surveillance Unit will be set up by Racing New South Wales to ensure the integrity of thoroughbred racing in the state.
The news comes as police and racing stewards in Victoria continue their investigation into allegations of race fixing and illegal betting by jockeys.
The unit will work closely with the Racing NSW stewards panel to ensure punters have confidence in the industry.
With the impending retirement of Racecourse Detective Bob Nicholson, that role will become redundant.
His duties will be absorbed into the new unit which will be headed by a person who has senior police officer experience with proven investigative skills in intelligence gathering, forensics, surveillance and preparation of briefs of evidence.
The unit will also have an investigator with veterinary qualifications whose role will involve providing expertise in operations designed to counter the use of new age drugs, particularly those that are performance enhancing and are difficult to detect in raceday samples.
The unit will also be active in operations aimed at detecting raceday treatments.
Racing NSW chairman of stewards Ray Murrihy welcomed the formation of the Investigations and Surveillance Unit, saying he looked forward to it forging an even closer liaison with state and federal law enforcement agencies.
And Racing NSW chief executive Peter V'landys said the unit would help the stewards panel ensure the integrity of NSW racing remained "at the highest level".
"We will do everything in our power to ensure punters and participants can compete with confidence knowing they are on a level playing field," V'landys said.
Racing NSW recently announced it would spend $1.5 million on new drug detection equipment capable of testing for 1000 drugs in a single test.
V'landys also said the organisation would continue its policy of freezing samples for future drug testing.