Gay and lesbian police officers should not be transferred from Surry Hills just because they choose to drink in gay bars, NSW Greens MP Lee Rhiannon says.

Rhiannon’s comments were in response to an article in yesterday’s The Daily Telegraph which reported police at Surry Hills were being investigated to determine who, when off-duty, went to gay venues where drugs were commonly used.

Police who did so could be compromised, the paper said. As a result of the risk assessment, nine officers were in the process of being transferred to other areas, the paper said.

If what appears in The Daily Telegraph today is true, then some officers could be being targeted at Surry Hills police station because of their sexuality, Rhiannon said.

Obviously heterosexual police officers frequent their local bars. What is the difference between this and gay and lesbian officers going to their local bars?

Rob McGrory, co-convenor of the Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby, agreed the strategy sounded discriminatory and said he was concerned by the suggestion that if you’re gay or lesbian then that’s going to affect your ability to police the Surry Hills area.

Assistant Commissioner Bob Waites would neither confirm nor deny the report but released this statement: A number of internal investigations are being conducted into the activities of police at the Surry Hills local area command. As those enquiries are currently under way it would not be appropriate to discuss them further.

The Telegraph said a large number of gay and lesbian officers request to be stationed at Surry Hills, to which Rhiannon responded, It’s common sense that the area with the highest lesbian and gay population in Australia should also have the highest proportion of gay and lesbian police officers.

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