Before people get too carried away with claims of victimisation and illegal activities on the part of the police, it is useful to point out a few things out.
The use, possession and supply of most commonly used party drugs is illegal. Like it or not, police have a legitimate reason to be at dance parties.
I understand there was also a substantial police presence at the other parties on the October long weekend which were not gay events. If I wanted to summarise the police use of drug dogs, I would use the term ‘lazy’ rather than ‘homophobic’.
Further, the suggestions that individuals should take a more proactive or aggressive stance against ‘illegal’ police searches or that a posse of legal practitioners should patrol the RHI are stupid and potentially dangerous.
If you interfere with a police officer doing his or her job it is an offence. You most likely will be charged with hindering a police officer, assaulting a police officer or perverting the course of justice. These are serious criminal offences.
Further, if the person is possessing or supplying illegal drugs, you could be charged with drug offences as an accessory. Lawyers have no special immunity and can get charged with hindering an investigation. The place to question a search and police behaviour is at court.
What we are seeing is the practical application of a zero tolerance policy towards drug use. it is not particularly aimed at the gay community.
I for one do not want make the logical step and say that being gay also means accepting and condoning a certain level of illegal drug use.
— Stephen
We attend Mardi Gras events regularly and expect there to be a police presence and agree that it seemed to be more visible than on previous occasions.
I was, however, more shocked and disturbed by the heavy-handed approach of one of the regular non-police attendants who searched me at the entrance gate. I offered up my small bum bag to the attendant for a routine search. It contained only my house keys, small amount of Visine in an eye-dropper and a couple of Panadeine Plus which I sometimes have to take post having cervical surgery in the last year.
She insisted on confiscating the contents of the Visine and called a senior inspector to examine the clearly marked strip of commercially-sealed Panadeine Plus. I had to explain and show them the scars from the recent cervical surgery. After some embarrassing moments scrutinising the strip of tablets and advising me about the availability of ordinary paracetamol (which was inappropriate for me) from the First Aid tent they gave me back the tablets and allowed me to enter.
I think that if patrons are not allowed to carry ordinary pharmaceutical items or prescription medication to Mardi Gras events it should be clearly indicated on all the websites where tickets are advertised so there can be no misunderstandings.
Experiences such as this do not make the idea of taking out membership of New Mardi Gras seem attractive.
— Shocked
While entering the Mardi Gras party this year, I was approached by police and told the sniffer dog had indicated I was carrying drugs, even though the dog was two metres away, did not pay interest in me, and did not sit next to me.
I was told I could hand it over, in which case the drugs would be confiscated but I would be let into the party or, I could be stripped down to my underwear and searched then and there in public. I was told if I was searched and they found drugs, my ticket would be torn up. Having been led to believe there would be no criminal consequences for a voluntary admission, I handed over my two pills. I was then arrested and charged.
If you want to enjoy your party, my advice is: be calm and do not raise the suspicion of police by trying to avoid the dog; know your rights — the police only have the right to search you if the dog sits down next to you; do not think the dog needs to smell anything for the police to search you – this may true under the law, but it is your word against theirs and the police know this; do not trust what the police tell you; and think twice about what you take to your party.
— Name withheld

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