Sniff Off, a Facebook page run by NSW Greens has been alerting Facebook users to drug dogs patrolling at stations and on the streets since October 2014. The group, and the Green’s, ultimate goal is to end the use of public sniffer dog searches, which have been proven to be wrong three-quarters of the time. Use of sniffer dogs has become even more of a hot topicin the last year in particular, with more deaths as the result of drug use at festivals, consequent suggestion and denial of pill testing, and drug detection dogs being a waste of taxpayer money all being the subject of heavy debate. With these being such contentious issues, one would assume that every point of view would be brought into this discussion in a civilised and mature manner right? Apparently not.
Vice News has revealed some screenshots from the Facebook page, with comments being left by police officers from their personal accounts in attempts to disprove claims being made about dog presence. “Nothing to see here”, and “your multiple sources need to get off the gear,” the comments read. Let’s disconnect a little bit more from the issues here, regardless of the fact that many believe sniffer dogs do more harm than good. “They scare young people into ingesting all of their drugs at once, and cause unnecessary overdoses.. [and] hurls people into the legal system for having the most minute traces of drugs in their system, but operates without a shred of evidence to prove it reduces the number of accidents,” said Labor MP Jo Haylen recently.
Are these the sort of people that we can trust to carry out searches? It’s baffling to think why these officers have decided to take it upon themselves to challenge a Facebook group trying to protect the privacy of the people of Sydney. Would we call this entrapment? Or would it just be complete misconduct? With an obvious personal vendetta against either a) privacy, or b) forming a logical argument rather than resorting to playground tactics bordering on cyber-bullying. This can’t do any good for a police force whose confidence in their tactics is more often being confused with complete ignorance. Though they have issued a statement claiming that “NSW Police is aware of the officers’ comments on the Facebook page, and a commander will be speaking with the officers involved,” we may never know what words are actually said. This all comes after Tasmanian police descended upon a small, 500-person boutique festival over the weekend. Officers were reportedly searching cars, the dancefloor and grounds in the evening, patrons’ cabins, and even making an appearance on stage mid-set feat. sniffer dog. What’s the world coming to?
Check out our piece on the reality of drugs at festivals here.