Search the Community
Showing results for tags 'sniffer dogs'.
Found 3 results
Anodyne posted a topic in News & NoticesHere's the new NSW police approach to sniffer-dogs at festivals: if you float, you're a witch.
Okay, we really need to stop enabling these underwear-sniffing police officers. I’m not judging, but they should find some less harmful way to indulge their fetishes. So I’m here to help. tldr: - If stopped by sniffer-dog-cops to be searched DO cooperate with them, but you don’t need to consent to the search - ask them to note your objection. - If you're clean, DON’T admit to recent contact with illicit drugs (even after they’ve cleared you). This benefits no one except the cops, who use these admissions of guilt to pad their poor detection rates. It’s not your job to justify their shitty false-positive rates for them. Okay, now for the long version. Let’s start with a few figures, to give an idea of the size of this problem (I mean program): The NSW Police Detection Dog unit costs $9.42 million per year to maintain. Just one dog, with one handler, bills a hefty $148.50/hr. NSW Greens have estimated the total cost of running a standard 3-dog “festival unit” to be ~$6000/hr, or $30K+ for a one-day festival. Approx 250,000 body-searches per year are conducted by NSW police, around 5% of these used sniffer dogs to justify their search, which otherwise may have lacked “reasonable suspicion”. Ugur Nedim, of Sydney Criminal Lawyers, advises that admitting to illicit drug use/contact/possession before consenting to a search, can later be used to solidify the police position of having “reasonable suspicion” to search you, in the event that drugs are found. If you keep your mouth shut, the police will have to defend their position and explain why you were singled out, which might give you a chance of having the case thrown out. Their usual default excuse is that you were “agitated” or “behaving erratically” or the somewhat-circular “trying to evade” the dogs/police (eg. crossing the road). If possible, ask them (before the search) why you were suspected, and what you are suspected of - there’s a slim chance this info could be helpful to you at trial. If they do find drugs in their search, and you didn’t consent (it’s illegal not to cooperate with police - so you need to submit to the search, but be sure they have registered your objection as well), try to get hold of any witnesses or video footage which could be used to counter their claims of erratic behaviour, or approaching known drug dealers, or whatever other bullshit they claimed as their "reasonable suspicion". It’s legal to film the encounter (or ask someone else to) so long as you aren’t breaking any other laws to do so (eg. hindering police, trespassing, etc). If you didn’t consent, and their grounds for suspicion are found unreasonable, you may be able to get the charges dismissed, as Nedim concludes: Do be aware though that this is only a possible argument, not an iron-clad one. Depending on the circumstances, police might say that your mere presence in the vicinity was reason enough to suspect you (esp. at public events where they have blanket-warrants). Again, this is probably circular reasoning, as they have likely used that same justification to request a warrant to conduct sniffer-dog operations at that place/event in the first place: “we think you’re carrying drugs because you’re in this area where we think people are taking drugs - so let us search you so that we have some proof of that”. Really they should have some proof first, but if they have a warrant then someone has already signed off on that, and it’s harder to argue with a judge. However even if the search is negative (the cops don’t find anything), how you answer the “have you had any recent contact with illicit drugs” question is still important. Drugs are found in only ~30% of personal searches based on a positive indication by the dog (figures vary, but the average is around there). Given that they often target bars, clubs & events which have high rates of illicit drug use, that figure could be even less impressive than it sounds - I’d love to see a controlled study to see if the dogs can do any better than just a random RBT-style testing. On that note, anyone got an 8-year-old kid? I want to see how many flaws they can spot in this bit of NSW Police maths (we’ll ignore its other problems like the bit where they equate prohibition with harm-minimisation for now and just focus on the figures): Hang on. If there were 4643 seizures (27% of 17,198), and some of those were really separate seizures from the same single person/search, then the actual number of “true positives” (dog indications resulting in drug seizures) is going to be LOWER than 27%. If just 10% of those people were carrying just two separate drugs (e.g.. one joint, one pill), then that would drop the % of indications-resulting-in-seizures down to 24% (which happens to be what is left after both the “no drugs found” groups are subtracted from a 100% total). This means that over 9000 of the 12,500-odd sniffer-dog searches each year in NSW (which are conducted with supposedly-reasonable suspicion) don’t find anything. But see what they’ve done there? (I know this example is from 2011, but the same arguments are being used today). They have twisted the math to make it look like a 24%-positive rate is actually an 88%-positive rate (61+27), and then just rounded that up as being “close to 100%”. Makes me start humming No Deal just to think of it: “Mate, did you know that your car only has one tire?” “Yeah but that’s all cool, the other three were there recently, and one said he’ll probably be back soon, so that’s kind of like having 4 tires. In fact, I’d just replaced this one here, so it’s almost like having 5 tires!” That is almost the same logic that the “mythbuster” propaganda-piece above has used. I don’t care how many theoretical tyres your car has, NSW Police, out here in reality there’s only one - and 24% is not “close to 100%”. (Now how about you drive your one-wheeled snifferdog program over there into the corner - there’s a dunces cap waiting for you - and you can spend that time thinking about all the better ways we could've spent $9.4 million) And the major factor that is helping them to pad those figures? That 61%. All you folks out there who are needlessly admitting to illicit drug contact (especially after you’ve been searched & found clean!). You don’t need to do this. With only 1-in-5 people plausibly (i.e. when they aren’t carrying drugs) denying recent drug contact, police can argue that their dogs are flawless and that those people are just lying (cops also use this claim to argue for “more intrusive” search powers, btw - that’s cavity searches without any reasonable suspicion). But if the 76% who were clean all denied drug contact, then that argument would become a lot less convincing, making justification of the program much more difficult. Admitting to recent drug contact doesn’t benefit you in any way (and could theoretically be used to get further warrants to search your car/home/workplace, although I’m not aware of any cases where they’ve done this). The only people this benefits are the cops - providing them with ammunition to defend their flawed, unconstitutional, & expensive program. Please, don’t help them. (usual disclaimers about this not being real legal advice - although I do link to some real legal advice above, and encourage everyone to follow those links and confirm all this for themselves)
Someone finally did it! The Greens have created a Facebook page for reporting sniffer dog sightings I don't use the bookface, but I gather that you can follow them to receive status updates? Why am I only just learning about this now?