It’s bizarre that we hear about so much success at getting drugs off the streets when in reality about 90% slip through the net. Have you ever looked closely at the figures put out when a so called successful operation is bandied about? A recent media release from the South Australian Police Minister, Michael Wright is a prime example of under achievement being dressed up as some sort of success.
NEWS RELEASEI find the comments of politicians and some police fascinating at times especially the tough talk when an operation bombs. When is someone in power finally going to say, “This is pointless. We are not even making a dent in the black market for drugs. We need a new approach.”
Hon Michael Wright Minister for Police Minister for Emergency Services Minister for Recreation, Sport and Racing
Friday, 6 November 2009
Police Dogs Detect Over 1000 Ecstasy Pills In 12 Months
Passive Alert Drug Detection Dogs have sniffed out a cocktail of illicit drugs and paraphernalia during their first year on the beat in South Australia.
Police Minister, Michael Wright, said, “The three highly trained canines and their handlers have achieved remarkable results in a short period of time and they should be commended for their commitment to disrupting drug taking and dealing on our streets.”
Since new legislation was introduced in October last year the PADD dogs have been deployed on 193 occasions. They’ve sniffed out in total:
1090 Ecstasy tablets, 4 LSD tablets, 1.58 kilograms of cannabis, 17 grams of amphetamine, 6 grams of ketamine, 3 grams of cocaine, 15mls GHB 21 pieces of drug paraphernalia including an ice pipe and cocaine kit.
Along with these detections, 31 people were arrested, 310 reported and 189 referred to drug diversions with 2 arrested for hindering police.
“This should serve as a stern warning to anyone considering taking or carrying drugs in and around entertainment venues and events that they’ll end up feeling the bite.”
The PADD dogs have also been deployed to ‘dance music’ concerts at Bonython Park and the ‘Big Day Out’ concert at Wayville. Country deployments have included Mt. Gambier, Naracoorte, Renmark, Whyalla, Port Augusta, Ceduna and Victor Harbor during ‘Schoolies Week’.
They’ve been on the beat several times at the Adelaide airport passenger terminal and railway stations at Noarlunga, Adelaide, Keswick, Salisbury and Elizabeth.
The dogs have also played a major role in patrolling the State’s known drug transit routes including National Highway One, Port Wakefield, the Mallee Highway, Pinnaroo, Sturt Highway, Blanchetown, Dukes Highway, Keith, Princes Highway, Monteith and Stuart Highway, Glendambo and Marla.
These dogs are playing an important part in the Government’s attack on the illegal drug trade. Other steps taken have included;
• Banning the equipment used in the manufacture of illicit drugs
• Trebling the expiation penalties for possession of cannabis
• Banning the sale of drug paraphernalia
• Introducing tough new Hydroponics laws to crackdown on the cultivation of hydroponically grown cannabis
The Rann Government’s stance on illicit drugs is vastly different from that of Opposition Leader, Isobel Redmond.
Last year Ms Redmond, during a debate on the Drug Paraphernalia Bill, supported an amendment that would have effectively saved the bong and made the legislation pointless. It would have seen drug paraphernalia continue to be freely available in South Australia
On 10 December 2006, Mrs Redmond said in a TV interview: “I mean certainly the information is that ecstasy doesn’t seem to be as big a risk as a number of other drugs.”
Minster Wright said, “We will continue to toughen the laws and give our police whatever they need to tackle the illegal drug trade in this State, and that includes all illicit substances.”
The three highly trained canines and their handlers have achieved remarkable results in a short period of time and they should be commended for their commitment to disrupting drug taking and dealing on our streetsI’m sorry Michael but “remarkable results” means more than just 3 ecstasy pills a day or 4 LSD tablets for a whole year. Also, 6 grams of ketamine, 3 grams of cocaine and 15mls of GBH over 12 months is not worth celebrating. Even 1.58 kilograms of cannabis is lousy. What I don’t understand though is the so called “success” from confiscating 21 pieces of drug paraphernalia including an ice pipe and a cocaine kit. You have most likely sentenced someone to a slow agonising death from HIV/AIDS. Good work, Michael.
-The Hon Michael Wright - Police Minister
This should serve as a stern warning to anyone considering taking or carrying drugs in and around entertainment venues and events that they’ll end up feeling the bite.Your successful hounds went out 193 times costing us at least half a million dollars while shifting scarce police resources away from where they are really needed. If these sniffer dogs were used at customs or the airport to find explosives, dangerous chemicals or exotic wildlife then the cost can be justified but hassling commuters at train stations and trouble free patrons of dance clubs is just a huge waste of money and resources.
-The Hon Michael Wright - Police Minister
His research revealed that 74% of those searched following an indication by a dog were found not to be in possession of illegal drugs.But credit should be given when it’s due so congratulations for arresting 31 people and reporting 310 others. Yipeeee! I feel a lot safer knowing that 31 dangerous thugs are getting a permanent criminal record. But there’s more congratulations. 189 users are off to treatment to rectify their immoral and evil ways. Michael, you know that drug diversion doesn’t work unless they actually have a drug problem? And if they do, they must be ready to be treated. You know this ... right? You know they take up the hard-to-find places usually needed by those who are genuinely seeking treatment? Right?
-The Privacy Ombudsman of New South Wales
We need to be honest and direct here. The claims of success from the police minister, on many levels, are decietful and even dangerous. The sniffer dogs are expensive, invasive and have not achieved any notable success over the last 12 months. Normal, everyday South Australians are getting permanent criminal records or being sent for drug treatment which they don’t need. Prohibiting safety equipment like commercially made bongs and cocaine/ice kits increases the harm to drug users including the spread of HIV/AIDS and Hep C. Incidentally these diseases often cross over into the general public and can kill people. I fail to see how this is “success”?
To top it off, this so called media release cranks up the political spin machine by criticising opposition leader, Isobel Redmond for being pragmatic and telling the truth. Not supporting a dangerous and irresponsible proposal to ban drug paraphernalia because it would lead to more sickness and death overrides the lame excuse, “It would have seen drug paraphernalia continue to be freely available in South Australia”.
I mean certainly the information is that ecstasy doesn’t seem to be as big a risk as a number of other drugs.Attempting to embarrass Isobel Redmond by rehashing a quote from 2006 is downright disgraceful. Why is it disgraceful? Because she is correct and telling the truth. Playing on the public’s fear and ignorance is so typical of today’s politician when it comes to drugs but attempting to discredit someone for being truthful is as low as it gets. This dig at Isobel Redmond is reminiscent of how the SA parliament treated the Hon. Sandra Kanck. Sandra was a sucker for the facts which drove anti-drug nutters like the SA Attorney General, Michael Atkinson and local independent, Anne Bressington into a frenzy. For Atkinson, Bressington, Wright, Rann etc., it’s impossible to have a good drug policy when the facts keep getting in the way.
-Opposition Leader - Isobel Redmond
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