Last week NSW Police announced plans to crack down on music concert attendees at the Above & Beyond concert this weekend. The plan was to eject people from the concert if a Police drug detection dog indicated to an officer that the person was carrying drugs.

That means even if you’ve never touched or taken a drug in your life that you could be refused entry to a concert you planned for months and paid to attend.

Obviously, we’re not advocating for drug use, drug possession or dealing, at festivals, or anywhere else. But the problem with the approach adopted by NSW Police is drug detection dogs don’t always get it right.

Even as far back as 2011, NSW Police dogs were found to have made inaccurate detections four out of five times.  That means four people out of five people identified by Police dogs at the concert may have been kicked out for no reason.

Sniff Off, an activist organisation back by the Greens, took NSW Police to Court the day before the event, asking for an injunction to stop the proposed plan.

The Court denied the application on the grounds future Police behaviour was only ‘hypothetical’ and thus could not be regulated.

The very purpose of an injunction is to stop planned illegal behaviour.

NSW Police went ahead with the planned operation. According to media reports, the Police stopped Sniff Off volunteers from handing out flyers to attendees explaining their rights, and conducted the drug detection operation inside the festival, outside of the view of the media.

A drug search can be a horrible, invasive experience. It can involve being be stripped down and bent over.

To make matters worse, those attendees were also issued with a 6 month banning notice, potentially stopping them from attending future events.

Some of those kicked out for no reason have issued a second Court case against NSW Police…  let’s see what the Court does now.

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Sydney Morning Herald, 11 December 2011
The Australian, 10 June 2018

The Music, 8 June 2018