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Media Release - Commission audit finds untrained officers strip searched music festival patrons

Monday, 25 September 2023

A collaborative review undertaken by the NSW Police Force and the Law Enforcement Conduct Commission found improvements in training for police attending music festivals, but gaps in the training roll-out, according to a new Commission report out today.

The report, Review of a sample of NSW Police Force strip search records 2021-2022, found police have clear training and processes for searching music festival patrons.

But less than half of the officers who carried out strip searches at the music festivals in the sample had completed the specialist music festival training.

The report also found that officers performing searches at the festivals had not used a “music festivals field processing form” designed to help police comply with person searching law and policy.

Acting Chief Commissioner Anina Johnson highlighted training and policies alone are not enough to change conduct.

“It is critical that new processes are effectively communicated to all police officers and reinforced with proper supervision on the ground,” she said.

The NSW Police Force acknowledged these deficiencies and attributed the results from the 2021 to 2022 review to a change in organisational priorities due to Covid-19 public health orders and restrictions. 

In response to the Commission’s review, the NSW Police Force said it has reminded all officers in the field about the music festival training expectations.

The Commission and the NSW Police Force collaborated on the framework used to evaluate the strip search records and on the measure of a successful implementation of the new strip search practices. 

The Commission then reviewed 359 police records from 83 general searches and 77 strip searches at 5 music festivals held between 2021 and 2022.

The report can be found here and a fact sheet about the Commission’s report can be found here. A video summary of the report can be viewed here. To obtain pre-recorded interview footage and grabs of the Commissioner, contact LECC Media.

LECC Media Contact: Rob Schell
Mobile: 0425 317 535
Email: media@lecc.nsw.gov.au