Police Drug Detection Dog Use

About this Item
SpeakersHarwin The Hon Don; Kelly The Hon Tony
BusinessQuestions Without Notice, QWN

Page: 13229

The Hon. DON HARWIN: I direct my question to the Minister for Police. What is the Minister's response to the comments made by the member for Coogee as reported in the Wentworth Courier in which he describes the use of police sniffer dogs at dance parties and music festivals as an ineffective drug deterrent strategy, an attack on civil liberties, and a strategy that goes after the wrong targets? Are these comments an indication that the use of sniffer dogs at such events might currently be under review or expected to be the subject of the review in the coming months?

The Hon. TONY KELLY: Why are people so concerned about police using such effective methods to catch criminals? The Government continues to give police the powers, the resources and the support they need to continue to reduce crime—particularly drug crime—and drug detection dogs of the New South Wales Police Force are a valuable resource. They can be used without a search warrant at licensed premises other than restaurants, and also at sporting events, concerts, dance parties, parades and similar public entertainment events. For instance, dogs have been used on trains and stations at Bankstown, the inner west, the eastern suburbs, the North Shore, the Illawarra, on the northern, southern and western lines, and at bus stations. The message is: If you are a criminal and you are carrying drugs at any of these places, you are likely to get caught. The dogs can be used where warranted.

The question of the Hon. Don Harwin alluded to whether the Government is likely to step back from this policy. It is not. In 2008 in the fight against crime the New South Wales Police Force laid almost 12,000 drug-related charges and seized an enormous amount of illicit materials. Police shut down 29 clandestine drug laboratories, 13 drug chemical storage sites and two pill-press sites. A further 29 charges were laid for possession of precursor drugs and charges in relation to some 61 drug houses were laid. I make no apology for the Government providing such resources to police or for the police using them.