Australia: NSW police strip-search data shows lowest drug prosecution rate in seven years - - PressFrom - Australia
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Australia NSW police strip-search data shows lowest drug prosecution rate in seven years

22:05  24 october  2019
22:05  24 october  2019 Source:   abc.net.au

Pill testing at festivals: Victim's mother backs coroner's recommendations

  Pill testing at festivals: Victim's mother backs coroner's recommendations Deputy State Coroner Harriet Grahame has called for pill testing and a roll-back of policing at NSW music festivals in a set of draft recommendations.In proposed measures lauded by the mother of one of the tragic festival-goers, Deputy State Coroner Harriet Grahame urged the Berejiklian government to consider decriminalising the personal use of illicit drugs and stage a drug summit to develop evidence-based drug policy.

Of more than 5,000 strip searches conducted by NSW police in the past financial year, less than a third found any illicit drugs, new data shows.© ABC News Images Of more than 5,000 strip searches conducted by NSW police in the past financial year, less than a third found any illicit drugs, new data shows.

More than two-thirds of strip searches carried out by NSW police fail to find any illicit drugs, according to data obtained by the ABC.

The data also shows less than 0.5 per cent of drug searches undertaken following detection by a police dog result in drug prosecutions.

NSW Greens member David Shoebridge requested the strip-search data from NSW Police.

Comment: Time for a different approach to music festival deaths

  Comment: Time for a different approach to music festival deaths NSW seems further than ever from a rational policy to stop drug-related deaths of festival-goers. The now hackneyed debate pits the law-and-order lobby, who say the only answer is to arrest all drug users, against advocates of harm minimisation, who accept drugs at gigs and want to make it as safe as possible.The argument burst to the surface on Tuesday with the leaking of NSW Deputy Coroner Harriet Grahame’s draft recommendations from her inquest into the tragic deaths of six young people in recent years.The leak of the draft is unfortunate and highly unusual.

It reveals officers conducted 5,362 strip searches during the 2018-19 financial year, from which 3,546 did not result in a prohibited drug, dangerous article or item being found.

In the same period, 11,533 drug searches were undertaken following detection by a police dog, however, just 59 of those searches — or less than 0.5 per cent — led to drug prosecutions.

It is the lowest prosecution rate in seven years, according to the data.

Police said they did not store data on the number of successful prosecutions resulting from strip searches.

Mr Shoebridge said the numbers strengthened his call to ban the practice.

"These figures show both the police drug dog program and police searches are appallingly abusive programs producing terrible results for the NSW police, in both cases failing well over half the time," he said.

Perth man arrested over AFP's home search

  Perth man arrested over AFP's home search A 26-year old Perth man has become the second person to be charged with drug trafficking offences as part of the AFP's Operation Loxton.Australian Federal Police searched the homes earlier this week where the methamphetamine, 350 grams of heroin, 100 grams of cocaine and $100,000 cash were discovered.

"Half a per cent of police searches end up in having a deemed supply charge. It's having zero impact on drug supply in the state.

"The false positive rates — the occasions police are getting it wrong — keeps rising and rising."

The NSW Police Force has come under intense scrutiny this week during the Law Enforcement Conduct Commission's (LECC) public hearing into the use of strip searches.

The inquiry heard damning testimonies, including from senior police officers, that many of the strip searches carried out during 2018 Splendour in the Grass festival may have been unlawful.

At the festival, fewer than one in 10 strip searches resulted in drug detections, the hearing was told.

The conduct and "military-style" behaviour of police was also brought into question.

The inquiry heard in one instance a 16-year-old girl cried uncontrollably after being isolated and made to strip and squat after a sniffer dog falsely detected drugs on her.

'I could not believe this was happening': Teen recounts Splendour strip-search

  'I could not believe this was happening': Teen recounts Splendour strip-search The Law Enforcement Conduct Commission is investigating claims a 16-year-old girl was illegally strip-searched at the Byron Bay music festival last year,The Law Enforcement Conduct Commission on Monday heard that police asked the teenager her age and took her identification but didn't call her parents or anyone else capable of caring for her, in breach of their search powers.

An officer also admitted this week she sometimes needed to "guesstimate" the quantity of drugs found on revellers when scales were not available.

A system undermined

Criminal lawyers told the ABC the mistakes from police exposed in the misconduct inquiry could have devastating lifelong consequences for defendants.

Quantity in drug-related cases is used to determine the severity of charges open for police to pursue.

"If the preview is inaccurate, a person's criminality may be elevated to a situation where it doesn't exist in reality," Sydney defence lawyer Bryan Welch said.

"It undermines the system if police officers got this matter so blatantly wrong."

A defendant facing allegations of possession, as opposed to supply, can mean the difference between receiving a fine or a significant jail sentence.

A solicitor who worked during the 2018 music festival told the inquiry on Thursday police were offering "inappropriate" advice to young people by urging them to plead guilty to avoid a court appearance.

Mr Wrench said the case raised broader questions about whether police were given enough time to investigate and prepare evidence.

"A police officer has one of the powerful roles in NSW — they're one of the only people that can take your liberty away, charge you, and bring you before the court," he said.

"When you're entrusted with such powers the community expects you act with the due diligence those powers deserve."

A NSW Police Force spokesperson said due to the current LECC hearing, it would not be appropriate to comment.

Terrifying moment a knife-wielding man goes on a slashing rampage near busy nightclubs in Adelaide before being tasered by police .
Hundreds of shocked bystanders watched on while the 26-year-old made his way through Hindley Street in Adelaide on Saturday night. He allegedly threatened revellers who ran for their lives, 7 News reported.  © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited The 26-year-old knife-wielding man allegedly went on a screaming rampage through an Adelaide nightclub strip Dramatic footage captured by a witness showed police tasering the man in a bid to subdue him.  The man was arrested and charged with threatening unlawful violence.Nobody was hurt in the ordeal.

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