Media Release: Strip search class action shows need for law change 

27 May 2020 

The announcement today that Redfern Legal Centre and Slater and Gordon are joining together to bring a class action for unlawful police strip searches highlights the urgent need to change the laws around strip searches in NSW. The Greens have a bill we will be moving this year to achieve these much needed reforms.

Greens MP David Shoebridge said: 

“Previous investigations of the strip search program including by the Law Enforcement Conduct Commission have shown that police strip searches are routinely illegal. 

“This means that police are constantly breaching the law while subjecting people to humiliating and pointless public strip searches. 

“If even a small number of those who have been unlawfully strip searched engage in a successful class action, the taxpayer will be paying millions of dollars in compensation for this abuse of police powers. 

“Years of data shows that the strip search program has no impact on drug supply or consumption and regularly breaches people’s basic human rights. 

“Despite this there have been no legal changes to address the mounting public concern with the program. 

“It’s clearly time for Parliament to step in and change the law to protect the citizens of NSW both from illegal searches and from paying millions of dollars of scarce public money in settlements. 

“We have a bill ready to introduce to Parliament that will stop the drug dog program that is at the heart of many strip searches, as well as providing strict limits on police strip searches. 

“The law needs to be fixed and we call on all parties to join us in facing this challenge,” Mr Shoebridge said.