Melbourne, twenty people were arrested as police hit clubbing precincts with sniffer dogs as part of a new operation at the weekend.
Prahran’s Chapel St and Commercial Rd, home to Revolver, Lucky Coq and Circus among other venues, were targeted by ‘Operation Safenight,’ which involved dozens of police officers patrolling the streets for people possessing drugs. The Age reports 16 of those arrested were referred to a drug diversion program, which means they won’t face court, while four were interviewed further.
Cannabis, amphetamine, cocaine, ketamine and MDMA were among the substances seized in the operation. No searches were conducted inside clubs, but door staff at Pawn & Co were inspected, according to the newspaper.
Sniffer dogs are a common sight at train stations and on the streets of Sydney, and at music festivals in the state of Victoria, of which Melbourne is the capital, but aren’t usually used on the city’s streets in this way. It follows three deaths and a spate of drug-related hospitalisations linked to a toxic batch of drugs sold as MDMA in the area in January.
Victoria Police was criticised in February after an internal memo marked ‘not for public release’ was leaked describing the appearance and chemical make up of the batch. Critics say the the information should have been made public to decrease the risk of more people consuming the dangerous batch, and that the new operation fails to target the source of the problem.
The operation will run until August.