Today’s Coroners Court findings make it clear the aggressive ongoing police war against young people and the music industry is damaging and unwinnable.
A key finding was that drug detection dogs don’t work to limit supply of illegal drugs but likely do encourage risky behaviour like pre-loading or panic ingestion. This must spell the end of the drug dog program and police as responders to drugs rather than medical professionals.
The coroner has recommended the Government give “full and genuine consideration” to “decriminalising personal use of drugs, as a mechanism to reduce the harm caused by drug use”.
Greens MP and Justice Spokesperson David Shoebridge said:
“Over the last 10 years police have continued to intensify their activities at music festivals with drug dogs, strip searches and an oppressive presence now the norm. No one is safer because of this.
“This has done nothing to stem the use of illegal drugs, and has meant that young people were placed at greater risk than was necessary.
“Police have responded with massive increases in strip searches of patrons at music festivals, traumatising thousands of young people with no identified impact on drug supply.
“Aggressive policing is making things worse, no young person feels safe seeking medical attention if police are watching the medical tents.
“More drug dogs and more strip searches is the worst possible answer, and the Premier needs to stand up to the Police Minister and Commissioner and put sensible harm minimization into place.
“Fewer police, more ambulance staff and peer to peer support would be a start to ensure this summer festival season is a safer one,” Mr Shoebridge said.