RLC in the Media: Police strip-search of a 19-year old festival attendee triggers internal review

NSW Police are abusing strip search powers at festivals, conducting illegal strip-searches and denying patrons entry to events after no drugs are found.

Paul Gregoire reports for Sydney Criminal Lawyers.

Lucy Moore, who was attending the Hidden Festival at Sydney Olympic Park on 2 March, was searched and found to be holding no illicit substances, but was subsequently asked by police to leave the venue and given a 6-month ban from returning.

Ms Moore has spoken out about the incident which has since lead to an internal review by the NSW Police.

Strip search laws in NSW are set out in division 4 of part 4 of the Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities Act) 2002 (LEPRA).

In a detailed Facebook post, Ms Moore says she believes that the officers breached several of the powers set out in the legislation that govern this invasive practice. Ms Moore states that she was taken away by an officer “and was told nothing of what was about to happen”. She says she was never asked for her “consent to be searched let alone… consent to be strip searched.”

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that following the complaint, the matter was subject to an internal review.

To curb the rise in strip searches across NSW, Redfern Legal Centre launched the Safe and Sound campaign in mid-December of 2018.

The campaign aims to reduce the high number of police strip searches in NSW and calls for reforms to NSW strip search law to provide greater guidance for police and better safeguards for the public.

Redfern Legal Centre’s police powers solicitor Sam Lee told Sydney Criminal Lawyers in January that “there’s no particular area where a strip search isn’t occurring across NSW.”

Ms Lee said that the most concerning involved young Aboriginal kids as young as 10 years old being unnecessarily strip searched.

Read the full article here (Sydney Criminal Lawyers, 12 March 2019)

Read more on the Safe and Sound campaign page here.