RLC in the Media: NSW Police are encouraged to film strip searches

A new report has revealed that New South Wales police are told to film people when conducting a strip search. 

Geordie Gray reports for The Brag

Documents obtained by Redfern Legal Centre have revealed that while the police officer conducting a strip search should not film proceedings, support officers on the scene are told to ‘record the search using a [body-worn video] camera”.

The documents state that officers should “take particular care to ensure the person’s privacy is adequately protected” by ensuring footage isn’t shown to anyone “without a lawful reason to do so”, yet also maintain that “a person’s privacy is not a sufficient reason to cease filming a strip search conducted in the lawful execution of an officer’s duty”.

Footage captured during strip search proceedings remains in police custody for six month – unless tagged by an officer as evidence for an investigation.

Redfern Legal Centre’s police accountability lawyer, Sam Lee, told The Guardian that there are “enormous privacy considerations” at stake that should have been “publicly explored” before police were given that power.

Police strip searches have been a point of contention in recent months after it was revealed by The Sydney Morning Herald that there is no clear legal definition of a strip search in NSW legislation and that police have been inconsistently applying their strip search powers.

Read the full article here (The Brag, 2 August 2019)