Police Sniffer Dogs and Search Powers in New South Wales

Police Sniffer Dogs trained to detect persons carrying drugs are becoming a common sight at Sydney bars and festivals.


While they serve an important purpose in the detection of illicit drugs, if you are stopped and searched by the police, it is important to know your rights and what police can and can’t do.


The police have the power to stop, search and detain you if they reasonably suspect you are carrying prohibited drugs. 


Section 32 of the Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Act 2002 sets out the rules police in NSW must comply with to preserve your privacy and dignity during a search.


You are entitled to ask the officer why they believe it is necessary to search you. If you resist the search you may be charged with resisting arrest. 


The police offer must provide you evidence that they are a police officer, tell you their name & rank, and tell you if and why you should remove an item of your clothing off during the search.


Thee police officer must conduct the search in a way that provides you with reasonable privacy, ensure you are searched by an officer of the same gender and allow you to dress as soon as the search is finished.


If you are asked to remove your clothes (as opposed to a jumper or coat), this is defined a strip search. The police cannot carry out a strip search (including a search of your genital area or breasts), unless they believe on reasonable grounds that a strip search is necessary and that the seriousness and urgency of the circumstances require it.


If you wish to speak to a lawyer about your rights and responsibilities, please use our contact form and we will contact you as soon as possible or phone us 1300 171 898 for a confidential discussion.


Author:             Michael K Twemlow

Published on:  12 November 2016