Jannah Theme License is not validated, Go to the theme options page to validate the license, You need a single license for each domain name.

Report finds NSW Police suspect lists led to ‘gross over-representation’ of Indigenous people

A discontinued NSW Police policy that attempted to proactively prevent crime through suspect lists led to an over-representation of young Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people as targets, a report has found.

The Law Enforcement Conduct Commission (LECC) started an investigation in 2018, following concerns about the policy being used in a discriminatory manner and not being modified when applied to youth.

The policy, known as the Suspect Targeting Management Plan (STMP), was introduced in 2000 and aimed to prevent crime by selecting and “proactively engaging high-risk and prolific suspects”.

It did not provide police with additional powers, but officers would increase their attention on targets, including by monitoring, observing, visiting them at home or stopping and searching them.

The LECC’s interim report in 2020 flagged patterns of targeting that appeared to have caused “unreasonable, unjust and oppressive interactions” for young targets, making 15 recommendations about how NSW Police could improve the situation.

But after revisions to the policy, the commission found little had changed.

The commission said its final report, published today, showed “the consistent over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people as STMP targets indicated the ongoing discriminatory effect of the policy to the commission”.

The report found the policy’s target selection process likely contributed to the “gross over-representation of young Aboriginal STMP targets” — which was “unreasonable, unjust, oppressive and may have been improperly discriminatory in its effect.”


The watchdog also said most young people targeted had complex needs, which police mostly ignored when applying the policy.

Chief Commissioner Peter Johnson SC acknowledged the decision of police to discontinue the policy as of this month, which was made after the force was given a draft of the LECC report.

“Policing young people is a complex issue that undoubtedly requires a response,” he said in a statement.

“But it is important for police to act lawfully and in line with the established legal framework that recognises the unique features of young people, including the reasons why they might offend.”

‘The only appropriate response’

The report also found police records “lacked detail about the legal basis for some interactions” and that some records suggested interactions were or may have been unlawful.

This was because officers had “acted beyond their statutory powers” when interacting with young people under the policy.

Karly Warner says any alternative to the STMP should be developed in consultation with Indigenous bodies.(ABC News: Patrick Begley)

The Aboriginal Legal Service NSW/ACT CEO, Karly Warner, said the report was “damning”.

“Abolition of the STMP was the only appropriate response,” she said.

“It is imperative that any replacement is not just an STMP by another name but developed in partnership with the Coalition of Aboriginal Peak Organisations of NSW.

“Surveillance and harassment of young people is not the answer and, in many instances, is not lawful.”

Jonathon Hunyor, the CEO of Public Interest Advocacy Centre, said the report exposed police “acting unlawfully in their harassment of young people” under the policy.

“NSW Police needs to comprehensively re-set its approach to young people, with external input and oversight, to avoid a repeat of the failure and misconduct exposed by the LECC,” he said.

NSW Police ‘committed to continuous improvement’

The LECC believed the revised policy met the threshold for agency maladministration, based on a review period of November 2020 to February 2022.

“However, as the NSW Police Force has now discontinued the STMP for children and young people, the commission has not made any formal findings,” the report said.

“Nor is there any need for the commission to make recommendations.”

In a statement, NSW Police acknowledged the release of the report.

“The NSWPF is committed to continuous improvement and has worked collaboratively with LECC during the process over a number of years,” a spokesperson said.

They said the revised policy was dropped in relation to youth on September 25 and an “enhanced process” was being developed to replace the policy in its entirety, but it would continue for adults until further notice.

“The NSWPF continues to engage with at-risk youth in line with the NSWPF Youth Strategy 2023-2025.”

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-10-30/nsw-report-finds-suspect-lists-overrepresentation-indigenous/103039912 Report finds NSW Police suspect lists led to ‘gross over-representation’ of Indigenous people

Related Articles

Back to top button