It goes without saying (although, boy have we said it, and said it) that police hitting up music festivals with packs of sniffer dogs is a dangerous, exorbitant, and largely-ineffective practice.

Today, the Greens have released figures — based on the NSW Police Standard Operating Procedures and cost-recovery rate — that show just how wasteful this practice is.

Just three police sniffer dogs, working at a music festival, costs taxpayers an obscene $6,000 a hour.

As they break it down, “This means if each dog spends 6 hours at a festival it’s a total cost of $36,041, and if there are 20 festival a year that’s a whopping cost of $720,828.”

“This is on top of the $9 million annual cost of the NSW police detection dog unit that conducts warrantless searches at train stations, pubs and clubs and gets it wrong up to 80% of the time”, they add.

Greens MP and Justice Spokesperson David Shoebridge breaks it down further, below:

  • Every time you see a dog at a festival that’s $2000 per hour.
  •  $2000 per hour for a dog who will 60 to 80 percent of the time sniff out someone who is not carrying any drugs. $6000 per hour for an operation to subject festival goers who are not carrying drugs to strip searches.
  •  $6000 per hour for an operation that will mostly catch people carrying only small amounts of drugs.
  • $36000 per festival to have little to no impact on the availability and consumptions of drugs.
  • $36000 per festival to encourage people to take all their drugs at once, in advance, use drugs thought to be less detectable or just buy drugs inside the venue.