Legistrative Council E-Petitions

E-petition Number
Stop Using Drug Detection Dogs
The Petition of certain citizens of the State of Victoria draws to the attention of the Legislative Council that drug detection dog operations have been proven to be vastly ineffective. Not only do they not reduce drug supply or usage, but they provoke dangerous responses, such as individuals consuming drugs quickly when dogs are present.

Public searches in bars, nightclubs or on the street in full view of the general public are an unacceptable invasion of an individual's civil liberties and right to privacy. This is significant given that up to 80% of indications made by drug detection dogs lead to no drugs being found.

The New South Wales Ombudsman review of drug detection dogs found that the overwhelming majority of those searched resulted in no drugs being located, and where they were detected, they were typically young adults in possession of very small amounts of cannabis for personal use.

The findings lead the NSW Ombudsman Mr Bruce Barbour to question "whether [drug detection dogs] will ever provide a fair, efficacious and cost effective tool to target drug supply."

Drug detection dog operations target drug users and have been proven to be an ineffective tool for detecting drug dealers. They do not stop or reduce the number of people who use drugs. Former Victoria Police Commissioner Ken Lay has acknowledged 'we can't arrest our way out of this', and that the focus must turn to harm minimisation and a health focused approach.
The petitioners urge the Legislative Council to acknowledge the invasion of civil liberties, potential harm and ineffectiveness of drug detection dogs and request that the Government take immediate steps to cease the use of drug detection dogs as part of ‘Operation Safenight”
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Ms Fiona Patten