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Presentation of LECC Strip Search Reports

The Law Enforcement Conduct Commission presented a suite of reports to Parliament today as part of its ongoing inquiry into the use of strip search powers by NSWPF officers.

Media Statement

08.05.2020

PRESENTATION OF LECC STRIP SEARCH REPORTS

The Law Enforcement Conduct Commission presented a suite of reports to Parliament today as part of its ongoing inquiry into the use of strip search powers by NSWPF officers.

The reports are the result of investigations and hearings conducted by the Commission in the following five matters which concerned strip searches conducted either in police custody or in public places, such as music festivals or on the street:

Operation Brugge

An unlawful strip search of a 16 yr old girl at a Byron Bay music festival in August 2018.

Operation Gennaker

Unlawful strip searches on 3 teenage boys at an under 18s music festival in February 2019.

Operation Mainz

Unlawful strip searches on a 16 yr old aboriginal boy in the street of a large regional town and later in the vehicle dock of the local police station in November 2018.

Operation Sandbridge

The unlawful arrest and strip searching of a 53 yr old male in inner Sydney in March 2015 and subsequent unsuccessful prosecution for hindering police in the execution of their duty.

Operation Karuka

Two strips searches of a handcuffed aboriginal male in a Sydney police station in June 2017.

None of the strip searches in the above matters found any prohibited drugs. All resulted in complaints about the conduct of the involved police and, in one case, civil proceedings against the NSWPF.

In Operation Sandbridge the civil proceedings were finalised in the District Court of New South Wales in 2018 with an award of damages of $112,000 plus costs in favour of the complainant.

In each report the Commission has found that the involved police lacked the appropriate understanding of the legal requirements regarding the conduct of strip searches and had not received adequate training. 

The Commission has been in dialogue with NSWPF about these issues and is satisfied that measures are being taken to address the Commission’s concerns. The progress of these measures will be further considered in the Commission’s final report on strip searching which is expected to be presented in the second half of 2020.

Today’s reports can be accessed at the Commission’s website here.

Background

The Law Enforcement Conduct Commission is an independent statutory body. The principal functions of the Commission are to detect, investigate and expose serious misconduct and serious maladministration within the NSW Police Force and the NSW Crime Commission. 

The Commission is separate from and completely independent of the NSW Police Force and NSW Crime Commission. The Commission will treat all information confidentially and has powers to protect persons who provide information to it.