Hey Gladys Berejiklian, you’re the NSW premier, yeah? Okay cool, just wanted to get your thoughts on the horrendous stuff that has come out on NSW police strip-searching young girls.
According to The Guardian, NSW police have performed strip-searches on 3,919 women in the state since 2016 based on data acquired by the Redfern Legal Centre under freedom of information laws. That’s a pretty high number but that’s not the worrying statistic.
Of the 3,919 strip-searches, 122 of them were performed young girls under the age of 18 over the last three years. And as the bitter cherry on top of this horrendous cake, eight girls were only 13 years old and two were only 12 years old.
As for how successful the strip-searches were, the obtained data shows that 66 percent found nothing while 28 percent of the searches were performed using “drug-dog detection” as the reason.
This is just the latest incident in a series of negative things that seem to be smacking the NSW police of late, like the watchdog investigation into the controversial strip-search of a 16-year-old girl at the 2018 Splendour in the Grass festival.
Speaking to The Guardian, head of police accountability at the Redfern Legal Centre, Samantha Lee, says:
“We know from the recent LECC hearings that young women are being asked to squat, and in the LECC case, an officer got on the ground and looked underneath the young woman.
“How many other young women have been subjected to such concerning police practice?”
So Gladys, how exactly are you okay with the NSW police strip-searching so many women, some of whom are underaged and likely have no clue about what their legal rights are?
You’re the NSW premier and essentially the face of all this. You’re basically the boss of all this so how can you let this sort of behaviour by the NSW police slide? It’s not a good look for the boss of a workplace, Gladys, let alone the top tog of the state.
A spokesperson for the NSW police has issued out a response (via The Guardian) stating that it was “not appropriate” to comment on the LECC’s ongoing inquiring into strip-searches. They reasoned that police “do not enjoy carrying out strip-searches” but it is “a power that has been entrusted to [them] and searches reveal drugs and weapons”.
“People who are trying to hide such items frequently secrete them in private places, and the only way to locate them is by a strip-search, which may involve asking the person to squat.”
The spokesperson didn’t address anything about strip-searching girls as young as 12 but said that strip-searches represented “fewer than one percent of the total number of searches” and 20 percent of strip-searches occurred due to indications of drug detection.
“The use of drug-detection dogs in operational policing is a highly specialised field and NSWPF is committed to ensuring that our training is the best it can be and that the use of drug-detection dogs reflects world’s best practise.
“There are additional safeguards for children and vulnerable people with which police must comply; officers are trained to deal with the public in a respectful and empathetic manner.”
At the time of writing, the Law Enforcement Conduct Commission (LECC) carrying out an inquiry into whether it is illegal to force people to squat during a strip-search.