Media release: Police were on duty when they lied on Sniff Off

The Greens have received written confirmation from Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione that all of the police who recently lied about the presence of drug dogs on the Sniff Off Facebook site have been involved in drug dog operations.

In a further revelation it was confirmed that two of the police were on duty when they posted the false information.

On 29 February and 7 March 2016 a total of three police officers posted false information to the Sniff Off Facebook page regarding the location of drug dogs on the Sydney train network.

Despite multiple reports confirming the location of police and dogs at Sydenham Station on February 29 and Liverpool Station on March 7, three people posted that there were no police operations at these stations.

Investigations by Sniff Off and Vice revealed that they were likely police officers. This fact has now been confirmed in correspondence received by the Greens Justice Spokesperson David Shoebridge from Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione: 160404 Letter to Commissioner re police on Sniff Off

Commissioner Scipione’s correspondence was in reply to a series of questions put to him by the Greens about the affair: 160428 Letter from Police Commissioner re Sniff Off Facebook investigation

All three officers were in the Police Transport Command and all had been involved in drug dog operations. The Police Transport Command is the command with the largest growth in drug dog operations in the past three years and is also the command with the worst track record of delivering false positive drug dog indications. In 2014 out of a total of 3,592 searches after a drug dog indication by the Transport Command a staggering 80% or 2,871 were false positives with no drugs being found (source: https://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/l…)

Greens MP and Justice Spokesperson David Shoebridge said: “This is a clear case of the police, while on duty, engaging in grossly inappropriate behavior on social media.

“It goes without saying that police should never be telling lies in public, and this is doubly true when they are on duty and being paid by the public.

“We know that the police don’t like the fact that Sniff Off is telling the truth about drug dog operations, how they waste police time and are a routine violation of civil liberties. However this does not give police license to log on and lie.

“While we welcome Commissioner Scipione’s condemnation of the police conduct there remain a series of questions unanswered.

“We still do not know if any of this conduct was known to, or condoned by, senior officers at Transport Command or what is being done to change police culture to prevent this happening again.

“The police’s job is to enforce the law and to hopefully do it with the utmost integrity. They are not paid to go on line and lie in an attempt to derail a political discussion about the utility of drug dogs,” Mr Shoebridge said.

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