While the past months have seen police around Australia reaffirm their commitment to sniffer dog operations, despite the growing evidence that the program is ineffective and even dangerous, it seems police have decided to take a different approach.
According to a leaked NSW Police internal email acquired by Tone Deaf, it seems police have jettisoned their long-running dogs program only to replace it with something far more sinister and intrusive.
The leaked email details the impending launch of the NSW Police’s new drug sniffing drone program, codenamed the Clandestine Remote Aerial Program, or CRAP.
The program is apparently being readied in anticipation of the next summer festival season, with fleets of test drones to be deployed at numerous events over the next few months.
When reached for comment, NSW Police Superintendent Mark Jockey confirmed that the drones, which the police have been working on in collaboration with a South American engineering firm, have already been road-tested on house parties in the eastern Sydney area.
“We have already experienced success with the program and are readying a full launch in the coming months,” Supt Jockey told Tone Deaf. “One of the A-F001 drones was deployed to a house party in North Bondi last weekend and police were able to apprehend 12 underage revellers.”
According to a statement from Colombia-based engineering firm Mierda Completa, the A-F001 drone comes equipped with high-definition olfactory sensors that are able to detect drugs including ecstasy, cocaine, and marijuana from heights of up to 3,000m.
The drones also feature high-definition cameras and facial recognition software that boasts “14 percent accuracy”. Meanwhile, the leaked email from NSW Police seems to detail collusion with festival organisers that would see punters’ tickets linked to a photo taken upon entry.
While Mr Jockey refused to comment on how the sniffer drone program would operate for “security and personal reasons”, an anonymous police source claimed the drones would identify possible drug users in festival crowds and mark them for arrest and strip searching with a custom-designed paintball.
“The drone shoots suspects with the paintball and sends an update with a complete profile, including photo, to the smartphones of all police within a 400km radius,” the source said. “It’s pretty badass, actually.”
Obviously, the sniffer drones raise numerous privacy issues, however the police don’t seem particularly concerned. “If you’re doing nothing wrong and you’ve got nothing to hide, then you’ve got nothing to worry about,” said Supt Jockey.
“The police are committed to ridding festivals of drugs like MDNA and EDM and the Clandestine Remote Aerial Program is the next logical step,” he added. “Punters should know that if they want to attend festivals, they’re being watched by like… 12 drones.”
Supt Jockey claimed that the CRAP will not only provide officers with a “more efficient way to fill arrest quotas”, but will be a cheaper and more efficient alternative to sniffer dogs, who require “regular walks and the expensive kind of dog food”.
“We’re going to CRAP all over these festivals,” Supt Jockey added.
While the CRAP is seemingly the latest move of an increasingly draconian police force, what’s more disturbing is a proposed “Tactical Portaloo Operation”, also detailed in the leaked police email obtained by Tone Deaf.
According to the missive, the police are hoping to equip music festival toilets with weight-sensitive gauges that will sense when more than one person has entered a restroom and will immediately lockdown, securing both punters inside, until police are available to make an arrest and strip search.