Surry Hills police will be investigated both independently and from within senior ranks, following submissions made by Police Minister David Campbell and ACON.
Following Campbell’s intervention, the NSW Police Force has implemented strategies to address allegations Surry Hills local area command mishandled the ongoing issue of homophobic violence.
The Acting Regional Commander has since met management at Surry Hills Police Station to raise the matter, Campbell told SSO.
Patrols were increased on Oxford St last weekend by 30 officers to include high visibility mounted police and more operations are planned in the coming months.
The NSW Professional Standards Unit and the Regional Commander Catherine Burn will investigate Surry Hills Police and its complaints system.
When Burn returns from leave she will also meet with ACON and Sydney MP Clover Moore.
Reports of homophobic violence to ACON’s Anti-Violence Project doubled over the last two months. Twenty-two reports were made in the past six weeks, compared to 30 over the previous five months.
ACON CEO Stevie Clayton wrote to NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione calling for assistance in dealing with Surry Hills command.
Outside intervention was the last hope of seeing an improvement in the busy command’s attitude to homophobic abuse, harassment and assaults, she said.
I regularly get reports from people who have spoken with senior police at Surry Hills command who report having been told that ACON are -˜just a pack of whingers’ and that the President of ACON, Adrian Lovney, is a -˜wanker’ and that they have no intention of being told by us how to do their jobs, Clayton wrote to Scipione.
Previous correspondence with the Commissioner regarding Surry Hills command had been delegated back to the command itself, which has led to no investigation and no change, just increasing defensiveness, Clayton said.
Taking matters into its own hands, ACON has asked the NSW Ombudsman to independently investigate the Surry Hills command’s response to incidents of homophobic violence.
ACON will submit its dossier of cases where police failed to respond to leads, as collected by its Anti-Violence Project.
Clayton further asked the community to contribute to the dossier by informing the AVP of their own experiences with Surry Hills police, as well as any ideas on how to combat homophobic violence.
Moore raised the issue of the continuing violence around Oxford St in Parliament this week, urging Campbell to introduce anti-homophobia training for all police officers.
Police should play a leading role in coordinating agencies to prevent homophobia, she said.
Campbell added that the Acting Regional Commander had reviewed the active investigation into the assault of Craig Gee and believes it is being conducted appropriately.