When it comes to music festivals and security, how much is too much? At the Above & Beyond Common Ground event in Sydney, police searched an attendee after a sniffer dog approached him. Shortly after, they handed him a notice banning him from Sydney Olympic Park for sixth months. The cause? Absolutely nothing, since he did not possess any kind of illegal substance.
Here is an image of the unwarranted document below.
News of this sparked activists against the police as it spread all over social media. The picture was shared thousands of times, instilling anger among music fans and showing a serious abuse of police power. NSW Police had explained that the festival-goer’s “bad behavior” and lack of ticket caused the notice.
Greens MP David Shoebridge told news.com.au that “members of the public shouldn’t have to pay for the inaccuracy of the drug dog program.” With the sheer amount of people getting penalized, this could be an apparent attack on civil liberties.
This stunt created such a ruckus that legal action is being sought after for those affected. “NSW cops are the definition of the fun police,” said one on Facebook. Ironically, no information has been released about how many people, if any, have actually been arrested on drugs charges at Common Ground. For every person the dogs reacted to, they had nothing incriminating on them when searched. For being drunk, thirteen people were ejected.
Ahead of the event, NSW Police stated that drug detection dogs, rated as one of the smartest dog breeds on Raising Spot, would be out and deny entry to anyone found with or without illicit substances on them. Whether you pre-gamed, handled any substances or unknowingly latched onto them second hand, admittance to the event would be denied.
This is the third time NSW Police have used this tactic at an Australian music festival. The other two included A State of Trance in April and Midnight Mafia in May. After seizing almost 1600 MDMA pills from a woman at Midnight Mafia and another with 550 pills, it seems that all it takes is one person to ruin the rest for everyone.