Police defend use of sniffer dogs

Sniffer dogs near Lismore during 2009 Mardi Grass Festival.
Sniffer dogs near Lismore during 2009 Mardi Grass Festival. David Nielsen

FIGURES that show sniffer dogs are wrong four out of five times dampened the launch of the NSW Police Force's new dog squad program this week.

On Wednesday, the NSW Police Minister Michael Gallacher officially launched the Police Force's Dog Unit Regionalisation Program, which will see seven commands across NSW get a boost in the form of a dog squad.

Richmond Local Area Command (LAC) welcomed a general-purpose german shepherd, a drug detection labrador and a police dog handler last month.

Tweed-Byron LAC has also been allocated a dog unit.

As the police canines were showing off their capabilities at a demonstration in Coffs Harbour on Wednesday, the NSW Greens were releasing figures that showed sniffer dogs were less than effective.

In statistics obtained through parliamentary questioning, Greens MP and justice spokesman David Shoebridge discovered 11,248 people were wrongly identified as having drugs by sniffer dogs between January and September this year.

Mr Shoebridge said something with an 80% error rate could not be considered reasonable.

"These thousands of false positives mean there are thousands of innocent people being ritually humiliated on our public streets and public transport network," he said.

Admitting sniffer dogs did have a role in policing, Mr Shoebridge said they should be used when there is other police intelligence that identifies a drug.

Tweed MP and NSW parliamentary secretary for police Geoff Provest disagreed.

"Sniffer dogs are a good deterrent," he said.

"Sure there is an element of error but it also creates an element of fear in people with drugs.

"(The dog squad) will create greater security for the officers and going by the evidence over the border in Queensland, the apprehension rate of offenders is good."

Mr Provest confirmed the number of people wrongly identified as having drugs was justified when compared to the drugs taken off the streets.

Topics:  dog squad geoff provest greens michael gallacher nsw police force police richmond local area command

'Poke' the latest food trend to hit the Northern Rivers

Finn Poke restaurant opened in Byron bay last week.

IT’S pronounced ‘poh-kee’ not ‘poke’ and promises to be “next iconic cuisine” to...

Keep clear of emergency crews in the cold

Be mindful of energy crews working in challenging conditions over winter.

Essential Energy is asking motorists to remain vigilant

Caring haven an 'enormous' difference for Ballina cancer battler

Ballina woman Stephanie Hawke (right) with her carer Joshua Kinna.

Staying at haven makes 'enormous' financial and emotional difference

Local Partners

Why streaming movies will cost more from July 1

AUSTRALIANS can expect to pay more for streaming services such as Netflix when a range of new taxes kick in.

What's on the small screen this week

Ryan Shelton in a scene from True Story with Hamish & Andy.

HAMISH and Andy hear another funny story and Cleverman returns.

Bonus Bill Busters Bingo card with today's paper!

Get an extra bingo car with today's paper.

Don't miss out on your bonus card.

Digging down to find Clare

Australian actress and singer Clare Bowen, who got her big break on the US TV series Nashville, is touring Australia with her solo album.

After five years on Nashville it’s time to tell her own stories.

TV REVIEW: Offspring season 7 is... fine

Alexander England and Asher Keddie in a scene from season seven of Offspring.

New Offspring won’t be remembered as the best season.

What's on at the cinemas over the school holidays

Tom Holland in a scene from the movie Spider-man: Homecoming.

Escape from reality over the holidays with a trip to the movies.

Rapper accidentally drops Banksy's real name in interview

Banksy’s ‘The girl with a balloon.’

Rapper Goldie may have just outed Banksy's real identity

Gateway to $3 billion, 4800 home new Coast city opens

The start of Peter Crosby Way at Sippy Downs, the northern access into the Harmony master-planned community at Palmview.

Palmview's $3b master-planned community of Harmony

Millionaire Nathan Birch to offload $55M in property

Nathan Birch wants to focus more on developing properties.

Sydney property investor has announced he is selling up

Fame factor boosts property prices in Byron

The stunning Clarke's Beach in Byron Bay.

House prices surge by an incredible 39.5% in star-studded area

Grass is greener for Warwick real estate

Warwick's rural charm and affordable property prices are enticing buyers from Brisbane.

Quality houses for half the price of Brisbane attracting interest

New prison unlocks market growth

Works have begun on the construction of the new Grafton bridge.

Influx of workers for project drives healthy growth in house prices

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!