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News (Media Awareness Project) - New Zealand: Drug-dog Ban Not A Problem In Southland
Title:New Zealand: Drug-dog Ban Not A Problem In Southland
Published On:2011-10-05
Source:Southland Times (New Zealand)
Fetched On:2011-10-09 06:00:24

Schools follow 'strict guidelines'

The dog was great but when it's not available we can't use it, but we
can revert back to pretty strict guidelines.

A ban on police dogs searching schools for drugs will not affect
Southland - because the searches aren't carried out here.

Since the retirement of the last Invercargill-based drug dog 18 months
ago, no school visits have been done.

Searches, with consent from schools, were common practice for more
than a decade across Southland.

Last week, Fairfax reported that police in the North Island were
refusing to do sniffer dog searches because of concerns they breached
students' civil rights.

They acted on advice from police lawyers and have suspended the
searches until new guidelines have been drafted.

The Education Ministry introduced new search protocols for teachers,
published in August.

Southland area commander Inspector Lane Todd said Invercargill schools
had not been searched since the drug dog was retired last year.

Police were not aware of any drug issues in Southland schools, but
would help schools with enforcement or education if requested, he

"If a particular issue arises - hypothetically, let's say there is an
allegation of drug-dealing - we'd expect to be called in."

Southland Secondary Principals Association chairwoman Yvonne Browning
said there had been no loss of a deterrent since the dog searches
ended. Schools had strong rules and procedures in place to deal with
drugs, she said.

"The dog was great but when it's not available we can't use it, but we
can revert back to pretty strict guidelines."

Southland was lucky drugs were not as big a problem as in other parts
of the country or the world, she said.

Mr Todd said there were no plans to replace the dog.

"We won't be getting a new one in Invercargill," he said.

If police needed to use a drug dog, one could be brought down from
Christchurch or from Aviation Security or the Department of
Corrections, he said.

Police national headquarters was looking at new regulations to enable
police searches of schools without breaching civil liberties, which
would be brought in at some stage, he said.
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