Festival deaths: 'Don't blame NSW cops'

By Gus McCubbing, AAP

NSW officers say it's "offensive and wrong" to suggest heavy-handed policing may have contributed to young people dying from drug overdoses at music festivals.

Leaked draft recommendations from Deputy State Coroner Harriet Grahame propose pill testing be introduced across the state and NSW Police cease using sniffer dogs at festivals to reduce the risk of revellers "double dosing, pre-loading and swallowing drugs" to avoid detection.

The coroner also suggests strip searches be limited for similar reasons.

But Police Association of NSW acting president Kevin Morton says the coronial inquest into the deaths of six young people who died after taking MDMA at music festivals had "turned into an unbalanced and unjust blame game".

"Any inference made by the coroner that our members have contributed to the deaths of festival-goers is offensive and wrong," he told reporters in Sydney on Wednesday.

In a statement he added: "There is no safe way to take drugs. Detecting (drug dealing) has to remain a priority. I call on the judicial system to back police in that process."

Mr Morton argued the Coroners Court was not an appropriate forum for "making policy".

"(Rather) we would be in favour of a drug summit to allow expert debate and to go about this in a proper, balanced and fully thought-through manner," he said.

The Berejiklian government has refused to consider pill testing in NSW despite most experts recommending medically-supervised pill testing should be introduced at festivals and permanent venues.