Victoria Police Seek Power To Deny Drug Offenders Entry To Music Festivals

Victoria Police are seeking the power to deny entry to festival ticketholders who have been caught in possession of illicit substances.

As reported by The Herald Sun, police in Victoria have busted more than 420 festivalgoers for drug-related offences over the Australian summer festival period, beginning in December 2012.

Despite confiscating a wide range of illegal drugs, including marijuana, mushrooms, LSD, ecstasy, cocaine and ice, Victoria Police do not currently have the power to prevent those caught committing drug offences from entering the festival due to a legal loophole regarding conditions of entry.

Victoria Police Superintendent Peter O’Neill wants that to change, and is looking to talk with event organisers about implementing the ability for police to deny offenders entry to festivals such as Big Day Out, Soundwave and Future Music should an individual be found breaking the law on drug-related matters.

“We want that as a condition of entry,” Supt O’Neill explained. “It should be a condition on their ticket that they will be refused entry if caught with drugs, and we want their tickets withdrawn.”

“It’s a strategy that definitely needs to be in place and we will talk to [event organisers] about it.”

As it stands, festivalgoers busted in possession of recreational drugs are not fined or ejected from festival but rather issued a diversion order and required to attend an appointment at a later date. O’Neill says that, although diversion orders are a deterrent to keep individuals from reoffending, the proposed changes to the conditions of entry would further help their war on drugs.

“[Diversion orders] have their desired effect to stop people reoffending,” O’Neill explained. “If you save one life you are doing a good job.”

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