Safe and Sound is the new campaign ending unnecessary strip searches by NSW Police

If you know your legal rights, then you know the extent of your power. This is the truth that the new Safe and Sound campaign is promoting when it comes to strip-searching by NSW Police at festivals.

This campaign by Redfern Legal Centre (RLC) will provide information to help bridge the knowledge-gap between the NSW Police and those who are strip-searched over the summer festival season.

strip-searching nsw police sniffer dog
Photo: The Newcastle Herald

Safe and Sound is here to inform young people about their rights when it comes to strip searches by NSW Police, right in time for festival season.

Information will be available via a website and mobile app, plus a report has been commissioned by academics from UNSW law school.

The RLC have previously reported complaints of strip-searching to the Law Enforcement Conduct Commission. Lawyer Samantha Lee, the head of RLC’s Police Accountability Practice, said they have received mounting complaints about police not following the correct procedures.

“The law in NSW governing the use of strip searches is vague and legalistic, making it susceptible to wide interpretation,” she said.

“Like police, we all want young people to be safe. It is important young people feel safe to approach police if help is needed. But the overuse of strip searches is making young people feel unsafe. Safety comes from sound policing.”

The presence of sniffer dogs at festivals can often bring on these strip-searches. But in 2017, 64% of strip searches came up clean.

Recently, increasing numbers of complaints have been made against NSW Police of abusing their strip-searching powers. Strip-searching doubled from 560 in 2016 to 1100 in 2017.

It is confronting to be asked to strip for a drug search. Under the Law Enforcement Act a strip-search must be deemed ‘necessary and urgent’.

It is important to ensure that these searches at festivals – especially when dealing with young people – are an urgent precaution rather than a preemptive and often disgusting nullity.

Via Music Feeds.