Cops will now refuse festival entry if a sniffer dog sits near you – even if they don’t find drugs
“Regardless of whether drugs are located”.
That’s the most troubling bullshit section of what was a profoundly troubling, bullshit message sent out on social media by NSW Police yesterday, regarding their draconian presence at this weekend’s Above and Beyond music festival at the Sydney showground.
“Police warn that drug detection dogs will patrol the venue and can detect the presence of prohibited drugs or someone who has recently had drugs on them. If a dog makes an indication you will be denied entry.”
Now, it should be made clear that these dogs are often used by the police to target and profile minorities, young people, or whoever they want, basically.
The presence of these dogs gives them permission to search people, regardless of their civil liberties. Anyone that looks like they may have drugs, can be searched. Now they have stepped up the powers of these dogs, so they can pick and choose who they allow to enter the festival.
South West Metropolitan Region Commander, Assistant Commissioner Peter Thurtell explains:
“These dance parties can be a dangerous environment, particularly when alcohol and illegal drugs are involved.
“We all know there is no quality control in the production of illicit drugs and you are putting your life at risk.”
Factual inaccuracies regarding quality control aside (this is a business, and good product means good business) this is not about protecting people, it is about profiling.
“Police will exclude any person from the venue that the drug dog indicates has or who has recently had drugs on them, regardless of whether drugs are located.
“Quite simply, if you handle or use drugs you will not be permitted to remain at the venue.”
Again – regardless of whether drugs are located.
A 2011 double-blind test, and subsequent study found that the behaviour and cues of dog handlers were mostly responsible for the dog’s response to scent. Meaning that the animals could be very easily manipulated to behaviour in a manner consistent to what the handler wishes.
This is profiling. This is draconian, and illegal. This is Sydney’s reaction to culture.
This article originally appeared on The Industry Observer, which is now part of The Music Network.