December 2011

15 December 2011

Mythbuster: reports on the "record failure" of NSWPF Drug Detection dogs are false and misleading.

The figures quoted were provided to NSW Parliament by the Dog Unit but have been misinterpreted.

The report states that there have been "a record 80% false positives" because only 20% of searches resulted in drug seizures.

The facts:

Of the 17,198 searches by drugs dogs so far this year:

  • 27% have resulted in drug seizures;
  • 61% have resulted in "residual admit' (no actual drugs found but the person searched admitted to having had contact with drugs, explaining the odour that the drug detection dog has indicated);
  • 15% have resulted in "residual deny" (no actual drugs found and the person doesn't admit to having had contact with drugs, attributable to limited powers to conduct more intrusive searches and the person being untruthful about being in contact with drugs).

The total comes to 103% because when multiple types of drugs are detected, the system records the seizures separately but it's not recorded as an additional search.

Sniffer dogs are close to 100% accurate.

They are an important facet of the overall harm minimisation strategy of NSWPF.

In addition, the dogs have a strong deterrence factor: they not only lead to the seizure of drugs from dealers and users, but people also dump their drugs when they see the dogs. Thus these drugs are not consumed and the risk avoided.

The majority of person searches conducted by NSW Police do not involve the use of a drug detection dog. However, in the instances the animals are used, police use other observations - in conjunction with the dog's indication - to form the reasonable cause for a personal search.

Here are the links to the two articles:

November 2011

4 November 2011

On Thursday night, the Police Association of NSW issued a statement to members that indicated that the Police Commissioner, Andrew Scipione had, during a media conference, criticised payments to individual officers under the NSW Police Death and Disability Scheme.

The Commissioner was quoted in the statement as having said "I have seen the payment, they are phone numbers."

Unfortunately, these quotes are not correct and at no stage during Thursday's media conference did the Commissioner make any reference to individual payments to officers, let alone criticise those payments.

For the record, the Commissioner referred only to figures quoted by the Police Minister which related to the escalating cost of the total scheme in successive years.

This is what Minister Gallacher said.

"It's quite significant. In fact to give you an idea, this will bring down the running costs quite significantly. If I can give you an idea, just last year alone, if you couple together death and disability, workers comp, top up and hindsight adjustment - $460 million dollars last year.

"This year, in exactly the same areas, workers comp, death and disability, top up, hindsight, $762 million.

"Next year bring down quite considerably, my understanding is we will see it back down I think about 66 million next year."

This is what the Police Commissioner said.

"It is most important to understand that from my perspective this is really about the more we can get back, the better it'll be. And you've heard some of the figures quoted by the know, they're telephone numbers. They're extraordinarily big amounts of money. He quoted a figure there from my perspective when he talked about seven hundred and sixty odd million.

"That's approaching half of all the money I will spend this year on police salaries."

For the record, video of the extended media conference with both the Minister and the Police Commissioner can be seen here(