Media Release - 19 September 2012
Expanded operations for police sniffer dogs across the whole of the Sydney,
Illawarra and Hunter train network and Kings Cross will expose yet more
innocent people to intrusive and humiliating public searches following
false positives by the dogs.
Greens MP and Justice spokesperson David Shoebridge said:
"The O'Farrell government has been attacking civil rights from its first
day in office and this expansion of the police sniffer dog program is just
the latest step.
"Governments must balance civil liberties against requests for further
police powers, not simply hand police expanded powers each time they ask.
"The most recent police figures show that sniffer dogs are wrongly
indicating people are in possession of drugs a staggering 80 per cent of
the time. Now the government wants to expand the programme?
"In the first nine months of 2011 police publicly searched 14,102 people
for drugs following positive indications by police dogs, and on 11,248
occasions no drugs were found.
"Hundreds of times every week the police sniffer dog program is exposing
people to ritual humiliation in the form of intrusive public searches, only
to find no drugs and no criminal offence.
"Thousands of NSW citizens, mainly young people out enjoying themselves,
have already been subject to police searches with little legitimate basis.
This number will only increase with these proposed changes.
"Police have to date have failed to answer questions regarding the number
of successful drug supply prosecutions as a result of sniffer dog
"With no assessment of the sniffer dog program's effectiveness and such a
high false positive rate there is no rational basis to expand the program.
"This ongoing failure undermines public confidence in police and causes
unnecessary conflict between police and the public", Mr Shoebridge said.