The Greens have introduced a bill to the NSW parliament this morning calling for an end to the use of sniffer dogs used without a warrant.
Newtown MP Jenny Leong delivered a speech calling the government’s operation “costly, ineffective, discriminatory and intimidatory”.
“In NSW, the use of sniffer dogs by police on public transport, at festivals and in bars is not about effective drug control. It is about police intimidation and harassment,” she said.
“Time after time the stats show that the program just doesn’t work. Health and law specialists say so. The Ombudsman says so. But the government is stubbornly refusing to see the evidence.”
She was backed up by Greens MP and Justice Spokesperson David Shoebridge who reiterated “drug dogs don’t work”.
“The fact is that police drug dogs repeatedly get it wrong, with 80% of searches on the public transport system being a result of false positives where no drugs are found.”
“Only 2% of searches result in a supply conviction,” he said.
Last year when Leong announced her plans to introduce the bill she was swiftly backed by DJ Paul Mac and band Art Vs. Science.
“Sniffer dogs are an aggressive way for the police force to talk to the public about drug use, of any kind,” Mac said at the time.
Back in 2014, Art Vs. Science’s Dan McNamee penned a letter to his local member expressing his distress at the use of sniffer dogs at Splendour In The Grass. McNamee’s concern was that festival-goers panic when they see sniffer dogs and ingest their “their whole weekend’s supply of drugs” leading to hospitalisation. He urged the government to consider a trial without dogs.
The Greens’ stance on sniffer dogs was further backed by Labor MP Jo Haylen who used a health debate last month to attack the operation which was originally introduced by the Labor government.
They scare young people into ingesting all of their drugs at once, and cause unnecessary over-doses,” she said.
Watch: Jenny Leong Introduces Sniffer Dogs Bill