Fact sheet

Fact Check: Are drug sniffer dogs incorrect 75 per cent of the time?

The Greens Illegal drugs

In support of their plan to legalise pill testing of party drugs in Victoria, the Greens have taken aim at drug detection canines, declaring: "Drug sniffer dogs are incorrect 75 per cent of the time." Is that correct? RMIT ABC Fact Check found he Greens' claim is close to the mark. The source of the claim, a review conducted in NSW between 2002 and 2004, showed that in 74 per cent of cases where a sniffer dog indicated the presence of drugs on someone, no drugs were subsequently found. More recent figures from NSW show no drugs were found in 63 per cent of cases after a sniffer dog indicated their presence; for South Australia it was 82 per cent. While police suggest the dogs are almost always correct in picking up either the presence of drugs or residual traces of drugs, the stated purpose of sniffer dogs is to detect people in possession of drugs ' not traces of drugs that may indicate previous use.
Verdict: Close to the mark

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