The Greens are taking New South Wales Police to court, after the organisation was 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.
The Sniff Off collective — a collaboration between Greens MP David Shoebridge and the NSW Young Greens — is seeking an injunction against NSW Police in the Supreme Court, in an attempt to stop the police force’s plan to deny people entry to this Saturday’s Above & Beyond music festival in Sydney.
David Shoebridge, who is also The Greens’ Justice Spokesperson, says the party has received advice from legal experts that there is “a strong case to be made that the police do not have the power to do this”.
“It’s hard to see how this kind of action by police could be legal, seeing how it involves punishment in the absence of any offence,” Mr Shoebridge says.
“Drug dogs get it wrong up to 75 per cent of the time. This is nothing more than the NSW Police punishing young people for the abject failure of their drug dog program.
“Many ticket holders have contacted Sniff Off and my office deeply concerned that the police will unlawfully steal their tickets after a false positive from a drug dog.”
Sniff Off will seek an immediate injunction in court on Friday, 8th June, and is hoping to have a number of Above & Beyond ticket-holders challenge police directly in court.
“These young people are rightly concerned the police will steal their tickets despite being searched and found to have done nothing wrong,” Mr Shoebridge says.
Figures from 2011 showed that 80 per cent of sniffer dog searches for drugs resulted in “false positives” in that year.
Music Feeds has contacted NSW Police for comment.
Above & Beyond is scheduled to take place at Sydney Showground on Saturday, 9th June.