Police sniffer dogs at the enterance of Splendour In The Grass. Photo Patrick Gorbunovs/ The Northern Star
Police sniffer dogs at the enterance of Splendour In The Grass. Photo Patrick Gorbunovs/ The Northern Star Patrick Gorbunovs

19 Splendour strip searches for just one pill

POLICE carried out 19 strip searches to come away with just one pill at Splendour in the Grass last year, an inquiry has heard.

It comes as the Law Enforcement Conduct Commission (LECC) is currently investigating the highly controversial search on the 16-year-old girl during which she was compelled to strip and squat in front of a police officer after being mistakenly picked out by a drug dog.

The inquiry heard that BR3 and BR4 were stationed near the entry to the festival behind officers with drug dogs and made 19 strip searches during the festival, but only one of them resulted in a "find", which was a single tablet of diazepam.

"You did not conduct any pat down searches and leave the search at that, that's correct?" Chief Commissioner Michael Adams asked.

"Yes, that's correct," BR3 replied.

Asked what he used to pick festival goers out to be searched, BR3 said it was things like people grabbing at pockets, "u-turning" and changing direction as they entered the festival.

"I must say that to my mind that's not much better than a gut feeling, it's not really based in any logical experience," Chief Commissioner Adams said.

Counsel assisting the Commission, Peggy Dwyer, said the teenage complainant felt she could no longer trust police in the wake of the incident and would find it difficult reporting issues to police in the future.

"Would you agree there are really serious adverse consequences when police strip search young people these circumstances?" Dr Dwyer asked BR3.

"Yes," the officer replied.

The inquest continues.