nsw ombudsman finds that sniffer dogs get it wrong in three out of five searches

Friday, 2 July 2004 NSWCCL media release: 3/2004


The NSW Council for Civil Liberties welcomes the release by the NSW Ombudsman of a Discussion Paper into the use of Police Sniffer Dogs. The Discussion Paper clearly demonstrates, at this early stage, that the dogs humiliate many innocent people and just don't deliver the detection of drugs that they are supposed to. 

NSWCCL President, Mr Cameron Murphy, said: -- 

“The discussion paper shows that the dogs are getting it wrong in three out of five searches." 

"For every five people who are sniffed, and subjected to a humiliating public search by police, only two are found to have any trace of drugs on them." 

"If speed cameras were getting it wrong in three out of five cases there would be public outrage and we would stop using them. Given these poor results, the police should immediately stop using sniffer dogs." 

"The few people who are found to have drugs in their posession are overwhelmingly drug users, not dealers, and are cautioned by police under the cannabis cautioning program." 

"The police are constantly complaining about a shortage of resources. When they do, the public should be asking why they are wasting millions of dollars on useless sniffer dogs, instead of using the money to investigate serious crime." 

"The police are wasting valuable resources on humiliating people through sniffer dog searches while murder and rape cases remain unsolved. " 

"These dogs are nothing more than a very expensive public relations stunt. One that is at the expense of fighting serious crime and targeting drug dealers." 

"The police must immediately phase these dogs out of operation and direct the wasted resources to programs that target drug dealers and serious crime."

For further information contact: 
Cameron Murphy, NSWCCL President: 0411 769 769