The Victorian Government is beefing up police’s powers to randomly ‘stop and search’ punters at music festivals in a bid to crack down on illicit drug use.
Under the changes, the cops would be able to search anyone they like without needing a reason.
According to News Corp, Victoria Police and the state government are “in talks” to change the law, which currently requires the brass to have “reasonable suspicion” before they can legally search a festival-goer (e.g. if a sniffer dog points the paw at them).
“It is believed the new laws would apply inside and outside festival venues,” the Herald Sun reports.
While Police Minister Lisa Neville told the paper: “There has been very serious harm caused by drugs at music festivals.”
“This is about protecting lives and ensuring music festivals are great places for young people to get together — not places for tragedies.”
The dramatic changes have been spurred on by a spate of fatal and near-fatal overdoses at Victorian dance festivals recently, including the death of a man at Rainbow Serpent who drank a poisonous substance meant for inhaling, and the hospitalisations of more than 30 people following a mass overdose of GHB at the Electric Parade dance bash.
The changes will reportedly also see greater punishments imposed for “organisers of large-scale events who fail to provide proper safety” with a focus on “stampedes”, like the horrific events we saw at the Lorne leg of Falls Festival this year.