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Camden News - By PAUL KEILTHY
Published: 6 August 2009
Sebastian Saville outside Camden Town Tube station
Sebastian Saville outside Camden Town Tube station
Passenger taking police to court over sniffer dogs

“IT makes as much sense as stopping and searching everyone who happens to be wearing a red pullover,” said Sebastian Saville, who is taking the police to court over their use of sniffer dogs at Camden Town Tube station.
“The police have more than adequate powers to search people if they think they’re up to no good.
“To go fishing for grounds to search people, using a sniffer dog which is wrong 75 per cent of the time is, I believe, simply wrong.”
Mr Saville, 56, chief executive of drugs charity Release, has lodged a claim in the High Court after he was stopped and searched by police after a sniffer dog barked at him in the entrance hall of Camden Town station last June.
The search found nothing, and Mr Saville believes that using sniffer dogs in this way – a frequent sight in the borough – breaks Met guidelines, ignores the fact that research shows the dogs are wrong three times out of four, and, above all, is a waste of police resources.
Mr Saville said: “Let’s face it, Mr Big is not going to come up the escalator with a suitcase full of heroin, and the kids round here who deal little bits of cannabis are just going to text their friends and say, ‘get off at Mornington Crescent’.
“Why are they doing this? There were 12 or 15 officers there for several hours. Is it better to catch a few kids with joints in their pockets or three violent people out on the streets?
“Do we have performance target policing, or do we have policing which reduces harm in the community?”
Release used to be based in Camden High Street, and Mr Saville lives in Camden Town. He believes stop and search, especially for minor drug offences, has become a menace.
He was searched by British Transport Police (BTP) officers, and the BTP issued a statement in response to his case: “We use a range of tactics including drugs dogs, explosive search dogs and metal-detecting arches to keep passengers safe. We are aware of the allegations made by Mr Saville and we are investigating them.”
The statement infuriates Mr Saville. “They talk about keeping passengers safe,” he said. “These were drug sniffer dogs. Do you tremble on the Tube because the kid sitting next to you might have a joint in his pocket?”
His case is expected to be heard later this year.

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COME on - who is this guy kidding? The police have every right to use sniffer dogs - if you have done nothing wrong you have nothing to fear.Talking of wasting time I wonder how much of my tax money is being spent on legal aid for his waste of time case. If only the voice of the majority got as much coverage as this 'outlier'.
P. Balls

P. Balls - the voice of the majority ought to say "do not waste taxpayers' money on the least harmful end of the drugs spectrum, spend it on the most harmful end and/or on violent criminal behaviour". Maybe it already does. Why do the police spokespeople speak of metal detector arches when I have NEVER seen one at a station. I have seen sniffer dogs MANY times, and been falsely accused of having drugs on me two of those times. Once after the dog had already even passed me as 'clean'. That takes the piss even more than your poor argument does. I was brought up to respect the police, and when I see them chasing easy targets it makes me seethe. Especially as a victim of violent crime. If this is a waste of time case, consider the police to have wasted the time, don't shoot the messenger who points it out!

"if you have done nothing wrong you have nothing to fear" Did you miss the bit about the dogs being wrong 75% of the time?


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