Redfern Legal Centre (RLC) is calling on the Law Enforcement Conduct Commission (LECC) to examine NSW Police’s internal child protection policy and practice after a report tabled in the NSW Parliament found a police officer touched the nipple of a minor while sedated.
The LECC investigation into the February 2021 incident, dubbed ‘Operation Kimbla’, made a finding of serious misconduct.
RLC supports the call of the Aboriginal Legal Service (NSW/ACT) (ALS), who referred the incident to the LECC, for the matter to be considered for potential criminal charges, and for the officer to be dismissed.
Samantha Lee, senior solicitor with RLC’s Police Accountability practice states, “The officer involved in this incident touched a minor who was sedated on an ambulance stretcher, while other officers laughed and made turkey noises.”
“The fact that this highly disturbing incident appears to have been seen as a bit of lark by the officers involved, reveals a potential failing with NSW Police’s internal child protection policy and raises severe concerns around internal policing culture.”
Ms Lee says she has long held concerns about NSW Police’s internal child protection policies since working on changing NSW Police strip search practice.
Ms Lee states, “Current NSW Police policy (supported by the law) allows for a police officer to be alone in a room with a child as young as ten, and order that child to take off all their clothes, lift their breasts or testicles, squat and often with no guardian or parent present.”
RLC would like to see the LECC investigate the appropriateness of NSW Police internal child protection measures.