Doubling down on drug dog debacle

At a major event in Sydney this weekend, police will prevent people from entry on the basis of an 'indication' by a drug detection dog. In the past NSW Police have said that an ‘indication’ can be basically anything.

This is a terrible idea, another extension of powers for a failed program.

Hit the phone to lodge a complaint with the NSW Police Minister’s office: (02) 8574 6800 This is super important. Every call counts and don't let them off the hook if they say they aren't taking complaints on the phone. Please treat the person who answers as an ally, not an enemy, for the best result.

You can also follow this link to email the Police Minister a message.

The blatant unfairness of tearing up a ticket on the basis of an ‘indication’ alone is a gross expansion in powers for a failed program. The intensive police operations that are now commonplace at entry to major events are also clearly linked, in multiple research studies, to increased risk behaviours among patrons. And these operations also come at the cost of actually doing something positive about promoting safety.

For police, it’s also a major PR fail. Their ability to protect public safety is based on the respect and cooperation of members of the public. Instead, they are showing a whole community that they are arbitrary and unfair in how they operate at these events, and that they take no real responsibility for promoting safety.

Fundamentally, drug use should not be a crime. The police and health officials that wrote the National Drug Strategy recognised that, and left consumer arrests right out. Yes that's right - arresting consumers is not part of our National Drug Strategy, because there is no evidence to support the practice. Operations targeting and penalising consumers are built on a foundation of nothing.

Speaking of shaking foundations, and if you're not angry yet, check out what an 'indication' is - direct from NSW Police Dog Squad

“No specific movement is needed by the dog for action to be taken. It depends on the relationship with the handler. The handler and the dog have a relationship, and the indication may not always involve sitting down, but may be any change in behaviour which the handler can recognise. That is the starting point, and it is up to the police officer there to build a case of reasonable cause from there.” Mark Watters, Acting Commander, NSW Police Dog Squad, Mardi Gras Policing Forum, 19 March 2013
Don’t let this one pass - every call and email counts. (02) 8574 6800

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