Music

Police Will Bar People From Entering A Music Festival If A Sniffer Dog Even Sits Near Them

Sniffer dogs get it wrong 80% of the time.

NSW Police have announced people will be refused entry to the Above & Beyond gig at Sydney’s Olympic Park this weekend if a sniffer dog so much as sits next to them. That’s even if no drugs are actually found, which sets a pretty disturbing precedent.

After all, drug sniffer dogs have been found to be wrong around 80% of the time, or for four out of every five people they try to identify as potentially having drugs. And given that tickets for the show start at $128, that’s a pretty big loss for someone who finds themselves kicked out through no fault of their own.

“Police will exclude any person from the venue that the drug dog indicates has or who has recently had drugs on them, regardless of whether drugs are located,” NSW Police wrote on Facebook last night.

“Quite simply, if you handle or use drugs you will not be permitted to remain at the venue.”

This isn’t even the first time the cops have done this — the same policy was in effect at a Midnight Mafia show last month, with people refused entry even when no drugs were found.

People are understandably pretty pissed off about this. The comments on the police announcement are flooded with people demanding to know why they’re being presumed guilty without proof, and telling the stories of times they’ve attracted the interest of sniffer dogs for no good reason.

People are also piling on to ask police whether they’ll be compensating people who are kicked out but found to have no drugs on them.

Greens MP David Shoebridge, who helps run the Sniff Off campaign to end the use of drug dogs in NSW, told Junkee that “this is an appalling expansion of the drug dog program, effectively saying that you’re guilty if police find any drugs on you and you’re guilty if they don’t. That’s a very medieval approach to justice.”

“We know from study after study, and particularly from statistics obtained in Parliament under Freedom of Information laws, that drug dogs get it wrong up to three quarters of the time,” he said.

“We are in the process of discussing with lawyers the potential for a class action on this, and we’ll keep people posted.”

You can have a read of the full figures regarding how much sniffer dogs cost, and how wildly inaccurate they are, over here. You can also give NSW Police a piece of your mind over at their Facebook page here.