In the same day, Sydney man is awarded over $112k for an illegal strip-search & NSW Police admit to breaching strip-search laws
It’s beeToday, the NSW Police Force have admitted that some of their officers have abused their power and conducted strip-searches in a way where they are not effectively communicating to people that they are actually conducting a search.
There was an internal report compiled by the Police Force’s Lessons Learned Unit (LLU) in November 2018 stating that there is no clear definition of a “strip-search” in the state’s legislation. This means that it is left up to individual officers to interpret and enforce the law. The same report found that there are major inconsistencies in the ways police have been strip-searching people at varying music festivals. In short, it says that a “positive indication from a sniffer dog is not a green light to strip-search someone.”
The problem here is the inconsistency of the NSW Police Force’s response to the legislation.
The document says that “Currently the legislation is open to interpretation and there is evidence of operational orders instructing officers that the removal of one piece of clothing constitutes a strip-search.”
It also says that an indication from a drug dog is “enough justification to conduct a strip-search.”
The report also states that in a four year period over the financial years of 2014-15 and 2017-18, there has been an almost 50 percent increase in strip-searches being conducted in NSW.
As there are more unlawful strip-searches being conducted, this opens up the NSW Police Force to complaints and even lawsuits, like one today where news broke of a 53-year old Sydney man who was awarded $112 387.67 in damages by the NSW Police Force after it was ruled that he was wrongfully subjected to a strip-search by NSW Police.
NSW District Court Judge Phillip Taylor last year ruled that the man was arrested unlawfully by police officers, and then subjected to a strip search because of what they referred to as a “lack of submission” at the scene of his arrest.
The Sydney Morning Herald have stated that this particular incident is being used by the police force in an internal report to “illustrate the organisational risk posed by unlawful strip-searches.” In layman’s terms, it’s not about creating a safer environment for the community, but rather covering their own arses.
The court proceeding can be read in full here. If you’ve got a spare halfa, we would highly recommend reading this as it highlights the need for clearer legislation surrounding reasonable grounds for strip-searching and the need for higher accountability to the NSW Police Force when this legislation is breached.
Photo via Reddit