High Alert Campaign Update

There has been a phenomenal community response to High Alert since the campaign launched just a fortnight ago.

In that time, we’ve spoken to 3AW Drive, been featured on Triple J Hack, had a long-form interview with Dean Beck on JOY FM, spoken to Triple R, 3CR, and appeared in Mixmag, Acclaim, and Sydney Criminal Lawyers Journal.

We have been providing on the ground support and conducting observations of Operation Safenight. Students for Sensible Drug Policy Vice-President Ash Blackwell witnessed the police work, "The majority of people surrounded and "sniffed" didn't have the dog indicate drugs in their possession. For the majority of people that did have an indication they didn't possess any drugs and the result of all of this was nine drug diversions and one summons."

As part of our campaign around police accountability, we are in conversations with two barristers and a legal centre to canvass options for potentially challenging cases where police are relying on sniffer-dog identifications to justify searches. Whether a positive dog identification provides sufficient grounds for a search, nor what exactly constitutes a sufficient positive dog identification, has not yet been tested by Australian courts.

Last week we discussed the issues associated with Operation Safenight at our campaign launch from a legal, media, research, and drug law reform perspective. Special thanks to criminal defence lawyer Sophie Stafford, Deputy Chair of Liberty Victoria’s Rights Advocacy Project Emma Buckley Lennox, Students for Sensible Drug Policy Vice-President Ash Blackwell, and RMIT lecturer and researcher Dr Peta Malins for providing their invaluable perspectives.

Special thanks to all of those who have bolstered the campaign with an endorsement; VAC, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, Dr Peta Malins, Australian Sex Party, Emily Ulman, and Students for Sensible Drug Policy.

Our High Alert Hotline has been assisting people by alerting them to locations of the sniffer dogs and police, as well as providing them with an avenue to access support services and legal information.

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