Image for NSW Police Slammed For Denying Entry To Festivals Even If Sniffer Dogs Don’t Find DrugsSniffer Dogs At Parklife Music Festival Sydney, 2010 / Photo: Don Arnold/Getty Images

NSW Police Slammed For Denying Entry To Festivals Even If Sniffer Dogs Don’t Find Drugs

Written by Tom Williams on June 6, 2018

UPDATE: NSW Police Taken To Court Over Controversial New Sniffer Dog Policy

ORIGINAL STORY: New South Wales Police has been criticised for denying people entry to music festivals if a sniffer dog sits next to them, regardless of whether or not drugs are found on their person.

In a statement released yesterday, NSW Police warned anyone heading to the Above & Beyond festival in Sydney this Saturday, 9th June, that police will be denying people entry if a drug dog makes any indication they may have drugs on them, or have recently had drugs on them.

“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,” said South West Metropolitan Region Commander, Assistant Commissioner Peter Thurtell.

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

Figures from 2011 showed that 80 per cent of sniffer dog searches for drugs resulted in “false positives” in that year.

Given those figures and the draconian nature of denying someone entry to a festival for not being found with drugs, NSW Police has copped some criticism online. There have also been claims this isn’t the first time they’ve implemented the new rule:

“Penalising people for the failure of the drug dog program is a clear abuse of police powers,” Greens MP David Shoebridge said in a statement.

“Young people who have spent upwards of a hundred dollars will see their tickets essentially torn up as some kind of perverse punishment by the police.

“It’s not an offence to have a drug dog falsely indicate you are carrying drugs.”

Music Feeds has contacted NSW Police for further comment. Read the police statement regarding the Above & Beyond festival, below.

NSW Police Statement

Police are warning patrons attending the ‘Above and Beyond’ music festival at Sydney this weekend that drug detection dogs will be at the venue.

The event will run from 6pm until midnight on Saturday (9 June 2018), at the Sydney Showground.

Police warn that drug detection dogs will patrol the venue and can detect the presence of prohibited drugs or someone who has recently had drugs on them. If a dog makes an indication you will be denied entry.

South West Metropolitan Region Commander, Assistant Commissioner Peter Thurtell said the message from police is simple – don’t bring prohibited drugs to the event.

“These dance parties can be a dangerous environment, particularly when alcohol and illegal drugs are involved.

“We all know there is no quality control in the production of illicit drugs and you are putting your life at risk.

“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.

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

“We encourage young people to come along and enjoy the event, we don’t want bad behaviour to spoil the atmosphere or create an unsafe environment.

“Poor choices can have serious consequences and we urge all people attending this festival to remain safe, look after your friends, and don’t risk your health or your good reputation,” said Assistant Commissioner Thurtell.

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