A RECORD 80 per cent of sniffer dog searches for drugs resulted in ”false positives” this year, figures show.
The figures obtained from the state government in response to parliamentary questions on notice show 14,102 searches were conducted after a dog sat next to a person, indicating they might be carrying drugs. But, in 11,248 cases, no drugs were found.
Hmmm… it’s conceivable that 20% of the population had drugs, in which case the dog sniff is actually no better than random. Regardless, any system that violates individual rights and has an 80% chance of being wrong, is, well… wrong.
How could anyone justify this? Surely nobody would conceivably stand behind such a horrible policy that subjects thousands of innocent people to humiliating searches. You’d have to be an absolute moron to justify continuing this policy, wouldn’t you?
But police strongly defend the use of the dogs, saying they are reliable and can detect remaining traces of drugs on people, even after they have been disposed of.
Inspector Chris Condon of the NSW Police dog unit said the detection dogs were extremely accurate, adding that more than ”80 per cent of indications by the dogs result in either drugs being located or the person admitting recent contact with illegal drugs.
”Any suggestion otherwise is incorrect,” Inspector Condon said. ”Drug-detection dogs are an important facet of the overall harm-minimisation strategy of the NSW Police Force. Drug-detection dogs are an extremely effective deterrent to persons transporting drugs for the purpose of supply.”
The NSW Police Association supports the dogs’ use. Its president, Scott Weber, has said they have been valuable deterrents at events such as The Big Day Out.
A spokesman for the NSW Police Minister, Mike Gallacher, said the government fully supported the use of dogs because police had found them effective.
Don Weatherburn, the director of the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, has said the high number of searches relative to detections is not an indication of failure. ”The question is how many people would carry drugs if not for sniffer dogs,” Dr Weatherburn said.
Why bother with the dogs? Just randomly search people. Or randomly search houses. That’ll deter people and you don’t have to pay for dog food.
Oh, random searches aren’t allowed. You mean you need some reason… or at least the appearance of a reason… like a dog.