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Media Release - Inquiry into NSW Police Force strip search practices

A report outlining the work of the Law Enforcement Conduct Commission in investigating, oversighting and analysing the strip search practices of the NSW Police Force since 2018. The report also highlights the work undertaken by the NSW Police Force to address the Commission’s concerns and enhance their policies, practices and the training provided to police officers.

Media Release

15.12.2020

The Law Enforcement Conduct Commission furnished its report: Inquiry into NSW Police Force strip search practices to Parliament today. 

It is the final report in the Commission’s ongoing inquiry into police strip search practices. The Inquiry represents a significant body of work, comprising a total of seven investigations, as well as analysis of NSW Police Force policies and training, and oversight of police investigations of complaints about strip searches. A recurrent issue throughout the Inquiry was the failure of officers to comply with, or at least to properly account for their compliance with, the legal thresholds for conducting a strip search.

The Inquiry has considered the policies, procedures, training, education and other instruction provided to police officers regarding strip searches. The NSW Police Force has developed and amended many policies and procedures in response to the issues that have arisen during the Inquiry. The NSW Police Force has also developed more detailed training for officers, particularly in relation to strip searching at music festivals, and has developed information to be provided to person who are strip searched by police, advising of their rights. This response is welcomed by the Commission.

The report makes 25 recommendations. Predominantly, the recommendations seek to clarify the instructions provided to police officers to ensure that strip searches are conducted lawfully. Some are aimed at enhancing record keeping to improve accountability and enhancing the quality assurance processes to check that strip searches are conducted appropriately and lawfully. Others are aimed at ensuring that training provided to officers about when and how to strip search is clear and comprehensive. Many of our recommendations are aimed at strengthening officer understanding about the thresholds that must be satisfied before conducting a strip search.

The report can be found on the Commission website.

Acknowledgement of Country

The Law Enforcement Conduct Commission acknowledges and pays respect to the Traditional Owners and Custodians of the lands on which we work, and recognises their continuing connection to the lands and waters of NSW. We pay our respects to the people, the cultures, and the Elders past and present.

acknowledgement-of-country