Australian Cops Say Their Unreliable Drug Dogs Will Decide Who Gets To Attend Music Festivals

from the 4/5ths-wrong,-1/5-creeping-authoritarianism dept

The New South Wales Police think they've figured out this whole drugs-and-music thing. To slow the entry of drugs (and drug users) to events where drugs (and drug users) might be found, they're going to station their most unreliable officers at the entrance and have them point out the people who should be forbidden from entering. From the NSW Police Facebook post:

Police are warning patrons attending the ‘Above and Beyond’ music festival at Sydney this weekend that drug detection dogs will be at the venue.

The event will run from 6pm until midnight on Saturday (9 June 2018), 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.

[...]

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.

This is great news for all those pro-Drug War types who think the innocent are just as guilty as the guilty until proven otherwise. Drug dogs are much better at detecting handler cues than detecting drugs, so it's inevitable this deployment of K-9 units will result in paying customers being screwed out of their money by four-legged animals.

Drug dogs have outrageous failure rates, considering law enforcement (and some courts) hold them up to be "probable cause on four legs." It's quite possibly even worse in Australia.

Last year, of the 15,779 searches conducted after police-dog identification, no drugs were found in 11,694 cases. Drugs were found in 4085 cases, resulting in a ''false positive'' rate of 74 per cent, said the Greens MP David Shoebridge, who obtained the figures

Those stats are from 2010. There's every reason to believe accuracy has improv...

A record 80 per cent of sniffer dog searches for drugs resulted in ''false positives'' this year, figures show.

The figures obtained from the state government in response to parliamentary questions on notice show 14,102 searches were conducted after a dog sat next to a person, indicating they might be carrying drugs. But, in 11,248 cases, no drugs were found.

So, there's an 80% chance festival goers who get booted by a dog won't have any drugs on them, or near them, or only in residue form. And the determination can't be challenged by showing officers you're not carrying any drugs. If a dog says you're not allowed to enjoy the music festival, despite having shelled out at least $128, the dog's call is final.

This is a very police state-ish thing to do. It allows police to arbitrarily boot people from venues, depriving them of both their freedom and their money. And it's a coward's way out. Rather than put their own reputations on the line, NSW police are simply going to shrug people express their anger at being kicked out of a concert for drugs they don't have and say a dog told them to do it.


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Jun 2018 @ 9:12pm

    Well they have guns and dogs soo..

    Get to your death camp citizen, and pick up that can!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Jun 2018 @ 12:41am

      Re: Well they have guns and dogs soo..

      ...well, US Supreme Court says drug-sniffing dogs are highly reliable evidence in US courts -- those pompous legal bureaucrats in black medieval gowns are never wrong -- that's why they have lifetime tenure as political appointees.

      Dogs ain't enough at private entertainment and sports events -- need mass cavity searches. Private businesses have every right to conduct intrusive searches of customer bodies & possessions -- it's fundamental law, in America and Australia (?)

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Bergman (profile), 12 Jun 2018 @ 1:06am

        Re: Re: Well they have guns and dogs soo..

        Someone ought to run one of those super-reliable drug dogs past one of those judges with a handler that has been told the judge is absolutely guaranteed to be in possession.

        After all, if the dog is infallible then it won't matter if the handler is giving off every possible cue for the dog to false positive.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonmylous, 11 Jun 2018 @ 9:17pm

    Good thing

    I'll be at the festival! I'll be giving free dog treats and tennis balls to everyone heading to the gates of the venue!

    What could possibly go wrong?

    Seriously, people should organize and do this though, cause it'd be hilarious. Make sure to invite the media to get it all on film for the evening news!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 11 Jun 2018 @ 9:24pm

      Re: Good thing

      "I do my part behind the lines, swabbing door handles of cop cars, with DMSO mix with LSD.."

      -Jello biaffra

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Pixelation, 11 Jun 2018 @ 9:48pm

        Re: Re: Good thing

        I'm not sure which would be worse, getting kicked out on a false positive or dealing with a cop on acid.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 11 Jun 2018 @ 9:51pm

          Re: Re: Re: Good thing

          Well dogs on acid mostly just sit there like people watching the colours and enjoying tummy rubs

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Daydream, 11 Jun 2018 @ 9:33pm

    Where do I read about terms and conditions?

    I'd like to read about the terms and conditions of purchasing one of these tickets and visiting the festival.

    In particular, I'd like to know their terms for dress, behaviour, et-cetera, and their refund policy. And whether they have a 'we reserve the right to keep your money and refuse entry to you' clause (in case they're planning something stupid like overselling the seats).

    Does anyone know where I can find the precise contract/terms/etc for purchasing and using one of these music festival tickets? For something to point to if (hypothetically) a LEO tried to refuse me entry to tell them no, they really can't?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 11 Jun 2018 @ 10:09pm

      Re: Where do I read about terms and conditions?

      Terms for a venue ticket or a web link to the terms are often printed on the ticket itself. Alternatively, I'd check the website for the venue.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 11 Jun 2018 @ 10:42pm

        Re: Re: Where do I read about terms and conditions?

        "Terms for a venue ticket or a web link to the terms are often printed on the ticket itself."

        You can't sell a ticket with conditions and not give the conditions until the person buys and reads the ticket. That is in no way a valid contract. The conditions must be stated *before* purchase.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 12 Jun 2018 @ 12:59am

          Re: Re: Re: Where do I read about terms and conditions?

          The T&Cs are also on the website before you buy the ticket. There can be some slight variation between the rules of the ticket operator and the venue, but if you're that concerned you can easily check them before purchase. Some sites are also set up so that you have click through to them before finalising purchase. They're also usually boilerplate to state that they reserve the right to admission and can refuse entry/reject you for any reason. In all my years of going to gigs, the only major change to that has been that you're able to read them on a website months before rather than waiting to look at the ticket when you buy it at the box office on the day.

          There's plenty of things to object to here, let's not start making things up as well.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 12 Jun 2018 @ 7:01am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Where do I read about terms and conditions?

            The T&Cs are also on the website before you buy the ticket.

            That doesn't apply if you're not buying online. And if you are... you're buying a chance at admission, with some chance of paying for nothing? Doesn't that seem legally questionable? Seems like illegal gambling to me.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              PaulT (profile), 12 Jun 2018 @ 7:59am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Where do I read about terms and conditions?

              "That doesn't apply if you're not buying online."

              How do you think things worked before the internet? This isn't something new. If you're buying direct from the venue, they should be able to advise you, if a 3rd party read the back of the ticket. There's no point at which you can't be informed, unless you simply don't bother to ask, or your scalper is selling you a fake one anyway.

              "And if you are... you're buying a chance at admission, with some chance of paying for nothing?"

              You're paying access to a venue, with the option reserved to be refused entry in case you're perceived to have broken the rules, yes. Just like any public event. If you turn up at an opera house wearing cargo shorts and a hawaiian shirt, you might well be refused admission even if you didn't bother to find out the dress code before you tried to go in. If you light up a cigarette in the cinema, you can't use "I didn't read the rules on the website" as an excuse for them not to kick you out.

              "Doesn't that seem legally questionable? "

              Only if you want to really, really, really stretch for something. Venue owners have always reserved the right of admission. One of the things they've always been able to do is refuse access if you're taking illegal drugs on to the premises. Festival, club, bar or other venue that's always been the way I've seen it. Some venues have been more lax than others at actually enforcing the rules, of course, but this has been the way it has been for at least the 3 decades I've been attending such events.

              The only new thing at issue here is that the police in one jurisdiction are apparently happy to provide so much false information to venues, that 80% of the people who are refused entry in such a way are in fact innocent. That's the problem here, not that you only just noticed that tickets have T&Cs associated with them.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Aussie, 12 Jun 2018 @ 7:30pm

      Re: Where do I read about terms and conditions?

      This has nothing to do with the venue or organizers. This is solely NSW Police arbitrarily setting up outside the venue and potentially barring ticket holders.

      I have no idea what legal basis the police are trying to operate under. My guess is stretching some licensed premises law in new and novel ways, completely outside any relation to the purpose of the original law.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 12 Jun 2018 @ 2:06am

    'Come now, you can, and WILL, grovel better than that.'

    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.

    And I'm sure that the screening process will only apply to drugs(phantom drugs mostly, real ones if they're lucky), and will absolutely not be used to punish anyone who isn't deferential and bootlicking enough for the officer's taste, or simply because they think refusing entry to someone will be funny.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Jun 2018 @ 2:53am

    Exercise Left to the Interested Student

    Eucalyptol, peppermint oil, capsaicin...how do sniffer dogs interact with highly aromatic compounds painted around the edges of the soles of one's shoes.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      scotts13 (profile), 12 Jun 2018 @ 3:47am

      Re: Exercise Left to the Interested Student

      I rather suspect that would be "interfering with a police officer" or even "assault on a police officer".

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 12 Jun 2018 @ 4:45am

        Re: Re: Exercise Left to the Interested Student

        Interfering with a police officer not doing their job seems to be a valid point.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    ironicbutwhocares, 12 Jun 2018 @ 9:51am

    so...

    who would pay 128 bucks to see/hear todays craptacular music? I listen for free on the radio - and cannot be more disgusted/appalled - i turn the radio off more often these days. if you wish to throw money away - you deserve . the russian roulette at the gate.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Hugo S Cunningham (profile), 12 Jun 2018 @ 10:04am

    Refusing to admit ticketholder after search? totally baffling

    There is a drug-warrior logic behind the drug-dog presence. If I understand this story correctly, however, even "clean" (false-positive) concert-goers who offer to let a human cop search them will lose their (expensive) tickets. If they tried that at a 1960s Stones concert, there would have been a riot.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Improbus (profile), 12 Jun 2018 @ 11:29am

    Drones?

    Ever hear of them? Are your dogs going to jump really really high to stop them? Dummies. This isn't your 60's kind of event anymore.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 12 Jun 2018 @ 12:04pm

    So the dogs say the person has been doing drugs. What then? Arrest them? Pat them down to check if there is any drug on them? Blood tests? What if everything returns negative?

    In the Aussie Police State it doesn't matter, law is absolute. And the executive is the law it seems.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Australian, 12 Jun 2018 @ 10:39pm

    Tech Dirt is a bunch of alt-right a-holes.

    I fucking hate the left. Now I fucking hate the right. Australia is by no means a police state. We do not have an FBI, CIA, NSA or any number of agencies that give special rights to individuals. Civilians, no matter if they're a member of the AFP (Australian Federal Police, our interstate police agency), you cannot have a gun on your person in a public event. FBI agents can (and have accidentally shot people many times).

    Further to this, drug dogs have been in use for years in Australia. Drugs in a music festival is EXTREMELY common. The whole reason of using dogs is so that they're is no long bureaucratic process for discovering if an individual carries drugs. The whole purpose of the dogs is to discover those who show the signs of being the most heavily influenced by drugs, as they are the ones whom will cause issues at the venue.

    Also, these venues are almost always in public parks. These are owned by the local government, whom in turn, have the right to exclude individuals from. They lease or rent out land to those whom want to hold events, and give them the same privileges.

    You people think because you are on the alt-right, or just the right, that we are a police state because of some difference in laws. The sheer retardedness of this is beyond comprehension. Oh wait, it's really not. It's idiots pretending to be intelligent by putting themselves on a pedestal, where all others are "lesser than thee".

    Of course, I'm self-aware and recognise I'm doing the same thing. So here's a bit of self-deprecation to ultimately prove I am the superior being. By proving I am superior to the alt-right/right as well as the alt-left/left, I prove that centralism is the best political position, and that I am the creator of it, thus making me the best politician/person/god/freemason/illuminati/360noscope/edgymeme/dank/allstar ever.

    Fucking assholes.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 Jun 2018 @ 1:04am

      Re: Tech Dirt is a bunch of alt-right a-holes.

      I fucking hate the left. Now I fucking hate the right.

      The left right axis is not very useful in measuring how much effect a politician will try to have on your life. Placing them on an anarchist/authoritarian axis is a more useful measure. While neither extreme of that axis will work well in.

      How to get more people from the libertarian part of that axis into political office is a problem, as they do not desire a lot of control over other people, and they find politics too dirty for them to want to work with existing politicians.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 13 Jun 2018 @ 1:34am

        Re: Re: Tech Dirt is a bunch of alt-right a-holes.

        I have a feeling this guy either doesn't know what any of those words really mean, or he's just playacting an idiot for his own entertainment, there's probably no point in trying to debate specific political viewpoints.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Wendy Cockcroft, 13 Jun 2018 @ 6:05am

        Re: Re: Tech Dirt is a bunch of alt-right a-holes.

        ^This. I can't stand authoritarians, whatever side of the political axis they're on.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 Jun 2018 @ 2:14am

      Re: Tech Dirt is a bunch of alt-right a-holes.

      This is techdirt.com, not lawyers.com, we ain't discussing lawfullness of it, we're discussing the SPUPIDITY of it.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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