RLC in the Media: Police strip-searches of festival teens were ‘unlawful,’ inquiry finds

An independent inquiry has handed down its findings regarding the behaviour of police at two music festivals, which left several children traumatised by the experience.

Lars Brandle reports for The Industry Observer

The Law Enforcement Conduct Commission (LECC)’s inquiry was launched after it was revealed NSW police conducted strip searches on children as young as 15 at Splendour in the Grass in 2018 and the Lost City Music Festival in 2019.

The inquiry found police acted outside of the law and, in some cases, officers operated without the requisite training.

NSW Police has been widely criticised over the past decade for their heavy-handed tactics with party goers, including the use of strip-searches, sniffer dogs and heavy penalties for carrying drugs for personal use.

The Australian Festival Association (AFA), whose members include the producers of Splendour in the Grass, has called for more harm minimisation strategies to be rolled out and supported by all levels of government.

Speaking after the LECC recommendations were made, Samantha Lee, police accountability solicitor at Redfern Legal Centre, was far from impressed.

“Why on earth are children allowed to be strip-searched in the first place? It needs to change,” Lee said.

NSW Police issued its own statement, in which it said the force is “committed to continuous improvement and has developed initiatives to standardise operational orders and enhance compliance.”

Read the full article here (The Industry Observer, 11 May 2020)