Police in Sydney used sniffer dogs this weekend to search club-goers in Oxford Street at random for drugs, without having reasonable suspicion of possession. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, they “netted 33 people” and the “haul” totalled “148g of marijuana, 3.7g of amphetamines, 1.1g of ecstasy and 0.5g of heroin” including “drugs found discarded in the street.”
The NSW Council for Civil Liberties has posted a guide to people’s rights with regards to sniffer dog searches. Of particular concern is that the police seem to be targeting certain sub-sections of the community – club-goers on Oxford Street, Aborigines in Redfern, people living in Nimbin – in order to make it appear that they are doing something about drugs. The question remains whether their pitiful “haul” from the weekend (obviously from mainly recreational users) justifies the massive expense associated with training the sniffer dogs.
One would think not.