Sniffer dogs result in record drug arrests at Field Day

NEW South Wales police have praised the effectiveness of using sniffer dogs at music festivals after arresting a record 214 people for drugs at the Field Day festival in Sydney.

Drug detection dogs posted at the entrance to the Field Day festival helped authorities intercept six attendees within 15 minutes of the gates opening on New Year's Day.

Police also busted three attendees with traffickable quantities of ecstasy.

A 20-year-old woman was allegedly found with 75 ecstasy pills - the largest haul of the day - while another woman, 21, was allegedly caught with 50 ecstasy tablets stored in a condom inside her body.

A man, 19, was accused of bringing in 40 ecstasy pills.

About 25,000 revellers packed The Domain for the one-day festival.

Police said 88 people were ejected for intoxication or "fence jumping" and 190 received medical treatment, three of whom were taken to hospital.

Redfern Region Enforcement Squad Commander Chief Inspector Stuart Bell said the number of people arrested for drugs was cause for concern.

"Most festival-goers know how to have fun and still behave responsibly, but there are those who need to understand that they will not get past us if they have drugs on them," he said.

"The drug dog operation this year resulted in the most arrests police have made during the history of the festival, which is extremely concerning and shows that some attendees are still not getting the message.

"We make no apologies for finding these people and putting them before the courts."

Last year about 140 people were arrested for drugs at the festival.

The NSW police force's use of sniffer dogs has its critics, with the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre finding drug detection could lead people to take drugs while standing in line to avoid detection.

A study they released last year found the dogs did not deter 62% of revellers from taking drugs.

It also found sniffer dogs led to two-fifths of festival-goers taking hard drugs like methamphetamine and ecstasy rather than marijuana, because they were less odorous and harder to detect.


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