Hundreds of people have joined a class action lawsuit against NSW Police over strip searches carried out at music festivals.
It’s a common sight in Australia to have cops prowling the entrance to a music festival.
Sometimes they will have drug dogs trying to sniff out any illicit substances you may have and if the dog indicates an odor you may have to be strip searched.
However, a legal battle is underway in hopes of reprimanding NSW Police Force for their ‘invasive’ practices.
Redfern Legal Center and law firm Slater and Gordon filed the petition with the NSW Supreme Court.
The lawsuit argues that police “committed unlawful acts including assault, battery and false imprisonment against festival-goers” while searching for drugs.
Redfern Legal Center attorney Samantha Lee said (via the ABC): “Legislation still allows a child as young as 10 to be strip searched in New South Wales without a parent present.
“He still doesn’t provide any clarification on cavity searches, squats and coughing.
“It still allows police to conduct strip searches without a support person present. So we want to see not just internal policy changes, but really significant changes to the law.”
She added: “There’s a level of embarrassment and shame, some of them don’t even tell their parents because they’ve been strip searched for suspicion of drug use and so they’re off. cling to this really deep hurt and emotion for a very long time.
“All other government professions have strong child protection policies, I see absolutely no reason why this practice (strip search) should not be removed from the NSW police force.”
A investigation on police presence at music festivals across the state found that they could actually do more harm than good.
The 2019 survey concluded that if there are many uniformed officers at the entrance to an event, as well as drug detection dogs, it can cause festival-goers to undertake “panic ingestion” or a “dangerous preloading”.
The first is how some people will take all their drugs before entering to avoid detection, which can overload a person’s body and cause an overdose.
According to ABCNSW Police will not comment on the class action.
The accuracy of drug dogs has been interrogates in the past, a study suggested that the margin of error associated with the use of these animals reached 63%.