Several strip searches at NSW music festivals “unlawful”, police watchdog finds

But no charges of misconduct brought against the officers involved

A police inquest has found four strip-searches conducted by NSW police at Splendour in The Grass and Lost City music festivals in 2018 and 2019 were “unlawful”.

As the ABC and AAP report, The Law Enforcement Commission determined the officers in both cases had been inadequately trained to strip-search children, and lacked understanding of the very law they were enforcing. Only one of the 11 officers to give testimony had ever strip-searched a child before.

The LECC made its findings in regards to the strip-searches of three teenage boys, aged between 15 and 17, at the Lost City Music festival on February 23, 2019, and that of a 16 year-old girl at Splendour In The Grass in 2018.

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Despite the strip-searches conducted being considered “unlawful” by the LECC, no charges of misconduct were brought against the officers involved.

A final LECC report on strip-searching will be delivered by the commission later this year, after the inquiry was first launched in late 2019. The issue of strip-searching festival attendees in Australia has been well publicised over the last two years, with newspaper editorials and legal experts decrying the controversial police practice.
Brisbane indie pop band Ball Park Music referenced strip-searches in their latest single ‘Spark Up’ (“I shouldn’t have to squat before you so that you can see I’m a good girl/ I’m a good girl / fuck you”). Lead vocalist Sam Cromack told NME Australia in April they infuriated him.
“It’s one of those topsy turvy moments in life, where you’re like woah, if you look at this objectively what some of these people in power have done to people who have, whether they’re innocent or not, have just done this vulgar like invasive act which I would argue is completely unnecessary,” he said.
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