NSW Police Spend $46 Million On Sniffer Dogs With 75 Per Cent Incorrect Drug Detection

New South Wales Police have spent over $46 million on sniffer dogs over the past decade, with alarming revelations that almost 75 per cent of searches prompted by these dogs yielded no illicit drugs.

NSW Greens MP Cate Faehrmann obtained figures through the parliament that revealed substantial expenses tied to the police dog unit. 

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The cost encompasses not only the operation but also the need to accompany each dog with at least six to ten officers, particularly at music festivals.

Despite complaints and scrutiny, the budget for the police dog unit has inflated from $3.48 million to $4.95 million per year. 

The figures show a significant discrepancy between the costs incurred and the effectiveness of the sniffer dog program.

Ms Faehrman has questioned the value taxpayers received from the program, considering the majority of indications failed to produce any drugs while potentially causing distress and trauma to individuals. 

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“The government cannot say that taxpayers are getting value for money, when the majority of indicators result in no drugs being found, yet while causing so much angst and trauma.”

Notably, the use of sniffer dogs has been associated with controversial strip-search practices, whereby police can legally search someone if they suspect drug possession. 

A recent Law Enforcement Conduct Commission audit found that only 30 per cent of strip-search records complied with the legal criteria justifying the searches.

At festivals such as Knockout and Listen Out, 186 general searches and 49 strip searches were conducted, leading to over 70 drug-related charges. 

Police used sniffer dogs, leading to the arrest of individuals in possession of large quantities of drugs, including MDMA pills and ecstasy tablets.

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