Woman forced to remove tampon during humiliating strip search at Sydney casino, shocking police review reveals

The Law Enforcement Conduct Commission report urged authorities to apologize for the strip search


                            Woman forced to remove tampon during humiliating strip search at Sydney casino, shocking police review reveals
(Getty Images)
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Sydney police asked a young woman to remove her tampon during a strip search while she was outside a casino in January as revealed by a law enforcement review. The incident had taken place outside The Star casino last year in January. The incident is one amongst several complaints that have been made against NSW Police over strip searches. 

Some of the other complaints that have been included in the Law Enforcement Conduct Commission report involved some young women at a music festival. One of the women had been working as a performer at the Secret Garden Festival last year in February when officers had reportedly made her pull her underwear down and bend over. 

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According to the mother of the young woman who filed the complaint with the commission had claimed that a male officer could be heard laughing in the background during the humiliating strip search. There were no illicit drugs found from the strip search. As per a BBC report, the 2019 incident saw two women being strip-searched outside of a Sydney casino when she was asked to remove her tampon. 

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The report shared that a review of the incident "revealed a lack of clarity for [officers] regarding the lawfulness of such a request," the Daily Mail reports. In a separate incident, a woman was strip-searched at another festival where she was made to squat and cough and was not given any proper privacy for the same. 

Last year another incident occurred where a boy, 14, was asked to hold his exposed genitals for cops in incident amongst 25 potentially illegal strip searches at a music festival for under 18-year-olds, an inquiry heard. When it comes to minors, it is mandatory that a parent or guardian be present unless an immediate search is needed to help protect the person or to prevent the destruction of evidence. An officer told the inquiry that strip-searches during festivals were necessary as drug use was a big concern after many young people died from overdoses. 

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According to the report, the commission said the policing and manning of large music festivals involved 'significant police resources' and that the authorities were 'not experienced in exercising the police powers commonly required at festivals." As per the Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Act, officers can only carry out a strip search if an officer "suspects on reasonable grounds that the strip search is necessary and that the seriousness and urgency of the circumstances make the strip search necessary."

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"Many of the people who experienced a strip search investigated in Strike Force Blackford described their experience as humiliating or degrading. Persons searched stated they were requested to cough and squat or to bend over," the report added. The report stated that ever since the investigation was launched, police policy and procedures especially those conducted at music festivals have been changed. 

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However, they are still following their present guidelines where state officers can "request that a person squat, lift their breasts, part their buttock cheeks or turn their body." As of now, an updated person search manual is being created and developed.