As reported by In The Mix:
If you – like drug research experts, harm minimisation campaigners and the NSW Greens – believe that drug sniffer dogs are ineffective and cause more harm than harm-prevention, then there’s a party for you. The “Sniff Off” party, happening in Sydney this Saturday, will protest against the use of sniffer dogs without a warrant, the Daily Telegraph reports.
The party’s organisers say that police use of drug dogs “disproportionately affects the poor, Aboriginal and queer communities.” Upper House Greens MP David Shoebridge told the Daily Telegraph that they’d decided to throw the party, “to fight for the right to be free from oppressive over-policing,” while Greens state MP Jenny Leong said, “We want a harm minimisation approach to drugs and we don’t want intimidation and harassment from police and sniffer dogs in our community.”
Research put out last year by harm reduction advocates Unharm found that the vast majority of searches conducted by sniffer dogs – including an alarming 60% of strip searches – failed to find drugs. A spokesperson for NSW Police countered to the Daily Telegraph that 70% of searches either found drugs or the person admitted having been in contact with drugs. “Anyone worried about drug detection dogs,” the police spokesperson said, “should simply not bring drugs to those events.”
But drug researchers and medical experts believe that sniffer dogs at parties and festivals can have fatal consequences. Sniffer dog operations “seem to only increase the health risks,” researchers Nicholas Cowdery and Alex Wodak wrote in the SMH last year, because the presence of drug dogs at festivals, “creates an incentive for attendees to take all their drugs at once prior to entering.”
If you want to protest the use of sniffer dogs, then head to the Red Rattler theatre in Sydney’s Marrickville this Saturday night, where there’ll be live performances by Paul Mac and a stack of other local acts; there’s more information at the Red Rattler website.
Find out more and order your tickets for Saturday night’s party here.