Data obtained by the Greens shows the continued failure of the drug dog program with false positive outstripping ‘successful’ searches. Remarkably even when intrusive strip searches are carried out, which can involve peering into people’s body cavities and requiring them to squat, 64 per cent of searches are false positives where nothing is found.

Greens MP and Justice Spokesperson David Shoebridge said:

“It’s plain wrong that well over 1,000 people were strip searched last year, and that means seriously humiliated, based on the error-ridden opinion of a police dog.

“Worse still two thirds of the people strip searched as a result of drug dog indications had no drugs on them.

“That’s hundreds of mainly young people who have had their rights abused and their relationship with police soured.

“Any other government program that gets it wrong three quarters of the time would be immediately halted.

“We know from the strong support we get for the Sniff Off campaign, which has over 40,000 followers, that the community wants a far more sensible and balanced position on drugs.

“Following the police overreach at recent music festivals like Above and Beyond and Midnight Mafia, there’s a growing awareness in the community about just how damaging the drug dog program is.

“These aggressive searches are all about PR, about the police being seen to do something on the failing war on drugs.

“The drug dog program is still pushed by both the Coalition and Labor despite common sense or any kind of evidence in support of it.

“NSW, far from being an example for other states like SA and Victoria, shows how not to do drug dog operations” Mr Shoebridge said.

Number of strip searches following drug dog indications

2017: 1,124 of which 718 are false positives (64%)

2018: 375 of which 414 are false positives (56%)

Number of non-strip searches following a drug dog indication

2017: 10,224 of which 6,270 were false positives (61%)

2018: 4,423 of which 2,799 were false positives (63%)

Strip search data: https://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/lc/papers/pages/qanda-tracking-details.aspx?pk=239500

Non strip search data: https://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/lc/papers/pages/qanda-tracking-details.aspx?pk=239273