The NSW Ombudsman is set to investigate police inaction on homophobic violence, with ACON submitting its dossier of cases where Surry Hills police failed to follow leads.
The tipping point for ACON was the violent attack on Craig Gee and Shane Brennen that was not fully investigated until reported in SSO 899.
ACON CEO Stevie Clayton said the police response had not improved despite years of working closely with police on combatting homophobic violence.
We’ve trained police about dealing with homophobic violence, we’ve helped develop the Oxford St Safety Strategy, we’ve set-up systems to share intelligence and we’ve continually called for more resources, Clayton said.
Despite these efforts, the violence continues to escalate and the police response is not keeping pace with it. Like the rest of our community, we feel that enough is enough. That’s why we’re now taking the matter to the Ombudsman so we can get an independent assessment of the problem and finally put an end to the inaction and buck passing.
She called for community members to write to Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione expressing their concerns; and report incidents of abuse, harassment and assault, as well as unsatisfactory dealings with police to the Anti-Violence Project on 9206 2116 or via email to email@example.com.
The lack of accurate police data on homophobic violence in the area was still an issue of concern Clayton said.
However, police at Surry Hills do not encourage people from reporting homophobic violence as a hate crime and they sometimes fail to properly record such incidents as hate crime. You only have to go out on Oxford Street on a Friday or Saturday night to know that no one is safe there anymore.
Clayton had hoped last year’s round-table meeting between commanders and community leaders arranged by Police Minister David Campbell would have solved some of these issue, but she said nothing has changed – except that the violence continues to get worse.
People can ask to speak with a Gay and Lesbian Liaison Officer by calling the NSW Police Switchboard on 9281 0000.