New South Wales Police says it has spent an average of $9.42 million a year on its sniffer dog drug detection unit since 2010 — totalling around $66 million over seven years — in new figures which have lead to further questions over the value of the drug dog unit.
The police costings, provided to New South Wales Parliament last month, reveal that NSW Police has spent an average of $9,420,416.57 per year on maintaining the police detection dog unit from 2010 to 2016.
But, as The Guardian reports, NSW Greens MP and Justice spokesman David Shoebridge believes the true cost of the drug dog operation is higher, because the new figures only cover the unit’s upkeep, training and operational costs.
Mr Shoebridge says the new figures raise questions because NSW Police have refused to release information on the drug dog unit’s effectiveness. He believes the unit should have to justify its expenses by making data on its effectiveness publicly available.
“We now have a further 65 million reasons to stop the ineffective police drug dog operations,” Mr Shoebridge says. “The waste of money is just extraordinary. Added up since 2010 that’s enough to build four brand-new primary schools with a cool $6m left over as change.
“Any other part of government would have to justify its expense but the police drug dog unit seems to be above criticism. Put simply, the dogs don’t work and the police waste enormous resources proving that point every day at our train stations and on our streets.”
Continued concerns around the effectiveness of sniffer dogs at music festivals has seen calls for banning the dogs at such events, while The Greens also introduced a bill to NSW Parliament in March, calling for an end to the use of sniffer dogs used without a warrant.
An operations manual released under NSW Freedom Of Information laws shows that drug dog units require significant police resources, with a minimum of six officers accompanying each dog and its handler, and 10 officers accompanying each dog at music festivals.
Watch: FriendlyJordies – “Do Sniffer Dogs Actually Work?”