The Greens NSW are the only major party in NSW that opposes the police use of sniffer dogs for drug detection. The use of dogs is ineffective at catching drug dealers but excellent at violating civil liberties. The Greens NSW work on this issue has been ongoing since 2002.
Through questions in Parliament we have gotten the real statistics from police on the effectiveness of drug sniffer dogs in NSW. According to the figures sniffer dogs falsely indicate the presence of drugs 64-72% of the time and a whopping 80% of the time on and around public transport. Despite this, police use sniffer dog indications to conduct intrusive public searches.
The sniffer dogs program costs NSW hundreds of thousands of dollars each years, and seriously impacts your right to privacy. On top of that a 2006 ombudsman’s report recommended the immediate end of the program.
The Police focus their attention on music festivals, bars, public transport and Redfern. In other words, police target young people, Aboriginal communities and the poor. Most people who are found with drugs are carrying small amounts of cannabis – they are not dealers.
After an indication from a drug dog the police can search you, even though they know it is probably false. The police can strip search you if they deem it necessary.
Drugs sniffer dogs do not encourage safe drug taking. Two young Australians have died at festivals when they swallowed all of their drugs at once to avoid detection.
Sadly, the Labor and Liberal parties support the widespread use of drug sniffer dogs in NSW. The Greens value civil liberties and a sensible drug policy. Join us to campaign against against this discriminatory policing practice. Check out our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/sniffoff