Monday, February 16, 2009

Ecstasy use up, sniffer dogs on the nose, pub lockouts dumped

While ecstasy use is "shooting up" according to the SMH, sniffer dogs finally got the bad report they deserve. Says the Herald

"In one case considered by the ombudsman, an operation costing about $41,000 resulted in a $1000 fine.

"A 2007 National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre report found that most people who knew dogs would be at an event beforehand simply made a better effort to conceal their drugs."

Bureau of Crime Statistics figures showed the number of "ecstasy incidents" in inner Sydney rose from 211 to 540 over the 24 months to September last year. 

And in another wild stab at a figure by the 2007 National Household Survey, the number of users in Australia had risen to 600,000. (Recent estimates in Britain have ranged from 500,000 every weekend to 400,000 users nationally. Someone is talking nonsense but the trend is clear).

As usual the plod cited the terrible chemicals used to make pills as a reason not to take them, blissfully unaware that this was also a rationale for legalising them and regulating manufacture and distribution. He was silent on the dangers of peanuts (see post below!).

This week I wrote a major editorial on the subject for The City News, suggesting that the constant blitzing by sniffer dogs on streets and in clubs was simply turning more people to alcohol which in turn created worse problems. The above picture, taken in Kings Cross, was captioned: "Police humiliating the counter-culture and imposing the alcohol monoculture".

Pub lockouts dumped
While the mainstream press hasn't picked up this idea yet, events again reflect the themes of this blog as, after only four months, the lockout policy applied to 48 pubs is to be dumped in favour of a "star rating" supposedly indicating the danger level of a pub. It's just as stupid but at least it's less draconian and this time the pubs will be consulted.


Leon said...

Hi Michael, I read your other article on the drug dogs as well. I'm sure you've also seen this as many times as I have but how about the way the police treat people once it is determined they are innocent and have nothing on them? Everything has been pulled out of the handbag and the pockets and is scattered all over the footpath and the police just say, 'pick that up!' and walk away. I've had officers tell me that part of the problem is the dogs will occasionally react to the scent of antibiotics. If that's the case, why bother? But in my view, if they were really serious about it, they wouldn't be confining their searches to the train station and big pubs.

The Editor said...

Having donned the latex gloves before each search, itself a strong public signal that the searchee is unclean, the Police are hardly going to ‘pick up the pieces’ as the song says.

They do trawl the streets regularly as well as the station and the pubs. But, as I said, the dealers are swanning around in cars or on motorbikes.

The only reason they got that big bust out west the other day -- the one where they found a tunnel and a 10m x 5m cave -- was because the guy was driving unlicensed with pounds of pot in the car.

I loved the references to the "Asian Crime Squad" in Granny Herald and Auntie ABC. Very coy.

bluelady said...

some perfumes can also trigger a dog's response