NSW proactive policing

Peter O’Brien Comments On Proactive Policing With ABC News ​

NSW proactive policing

Peter O’Brien Comments On Proactive Policing With ABC News

Proactive Policing – ABC Reports 

“I think it’s true that there’s a racial profiling that goes on in police officers’ minds” – Peter O’Brien on proactive policing in Australia. 

ABC News recently published an article about the issues raised from police conducting stop-and-searches as part of their proactive policing strategy. Our Principal Solicitor, Peter O’Brien, has years of experience representing clients suing law enforcement for unlawful arrests and searches. Therefore, ABC News asked him to comment on the topic. The following are quotes taken from the article ´A dangerous numbers game´ by ABC News. 

NSW police unlawful stop and searches 

In a recent case, the state had to pay out $320k because police stopped and unlawful searched someone. Officers then arrested this person. However, a judge ruled that the search and resulting arrest was unlawful. In addition, footage from their body worn cameras captured the officers being very unprofessionally. For example, one officer says: “That’s what happens when you’re mouthy. You get searched.” Another officer then reminds the other that they have their cameras on. 

Proactive Policing is ´a dangerous numbers game´

Furthermore, legal experts believe that NSW police might have conducted millions of unlawful searches. Peter said, rising search rates in Mt Druitt, Blacktown and Parramatta show how proactive policing discriminates according to class and race. 

“There’s definitely a class element to it. Over-policing and use of police powers is certainly connected with lower socioeconomic communities … [as well as] ethnic and indigenous communities,” Peter stated. 

NSW police accused of unfair proactive policing policies

He explains that those police commands have a particularly strong focus on proactive policing and “are not sufficiently encouraging adherence to police responsibilities.”

He also said that police “very commonly” believe that a person looks suspicious because of what they’re wearing or their general appearance, “and that can be as simple as the colour of their skin.”

¨Having made a 25-year career out of representing people mistreated by police, he (Peter) says one kind of case hints at just how deep the problem runs¨ ABC reporters said. 

“I’ve represented many off-duty police officers of colour, who, on their night out in capital cities around the country, have been stopped by police and arbitrarily searched,” Peter says.

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Nicole Byrne

Content Creator | Media Coordinator
O'Brien Criminal & Civil Solicitors


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