Should we stop using sniffer dogs?

by Leanne Thompson on August 5, 2009

In the media this week, the director of drugs charity Release, Sebastian Saville aged 56, is reportedly suing the police after he was searched on the London Underground as a sniffer dog barked at him.

It happened in June last year in the Camden Town underground station and Saville claims his human rights were breached because they searched him and found nothing.  Saville claims sniffer dogs are ineffective and wrong four out of five times, so police should not be allowed to stop and search people just on the dog’s say-so as that is not sufficiently ‘probable cause’.  So, does he want the police to stop using sniffer dogs at all?  Even if they did only get it right one out of five times, isn’t it better that we get the drugs off the street at least in 20 percent of cases?

Bearing in mind Saville is an ex-heroin addict and the charity director for Release, shouldn’t he be happy that the police are trying to do their job?  If the dog barked and maybe the police searched the wrong man, whose fault is that?

This story is absolutely ridiculous in my opinion.  So what if he was stopped and searched?  I don’t see why he should be able to sue the police for it.  It was no doubt demeaning and embarrassing, but the police need to do their job without fear of being sued just for searching someone.

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