Most Drug Dog Strip Searches Turn Up No Drugs, Figures Show
Police Commissioner Mick Fuller strongly backed the program
Alarming new figures show strip searches following drug dog indications are on the rise in NSW.
But not only that -- in the majority of cases every year, no drugs are found.
Information released under Freedom of Information reveal an increase in the number of strip searches following a drug dog indication.
That's despite an initial search by a police officer finding nothing.
Strip searches have almost doubled from 590 in 2016, to 1124 last year and this year alone 735 people have already been strip searched.
Of those strip searches, more than half every year find no drugs at all.
Greens MP David Shoebridge wants the drug dog program shut down.
"What we see with the drug dogs program is millions and millions of dollars of public money on a program that gets it wrong most of the time and is causing real harm and damage especially to young people," he said.
A woman who doesn't want to be identified said she was left humiliated after a failed strip search in June this year.
She was out with friends in the city celebrating her 21st birthday when she used public bathrooms only to exit and be confronted by two undercover police officers.
They said she was acting suspiciously and took her to a police van to be strip searched.
They didn't find anything.
She told Ten Eyewitness News the whole experience was "was very violating, traumatic and quite humiliating."
She made a formal complaint and hasn't been out since.
"I don't really understand how teenagers and young adults are meant to go into the city thinking that police officers are there to help them when they're doing things like that," she said.
Under questioning in budget estimates at state parliament today, the Police Commissioner Mick Fuller strongly backed the program.
"I hope their parents are happy because lots and lots of young people overdose and die every year because of drugs," Fuller said.
"Drugs are dangerous, governments taking a soft approach only green lights people for the use of drugs."
Fuller also said in a high percentage of cases where drugs weren't found, people admit that they had drugs on them at some stage.
"I encourage and support the use of police drug dogs," the Police Minister added.