Media Statement: Let's talk about police reform and weapons

On 26 February NSWCCL wrote to the Attorney General, Minister for Police and Police Commissioner to register our concern about systemic policing issues which are brought into focus again by the alleged murder of Jesse Baird and Luke Davies.  

Our letter is attached and calls for three things: the disarming of general duties Police Officers; an independent inquiry into police use of force and weapons; and, an end to the practice of police investigating police for misconduct and excessive use of force.

Quotes attributable to Josh Pallas, Immediate Past President, NSWCCL

"The queer community is mourning the murder of Jesse Baird and Luke Davies, we join with them. NSWCCL is troubled by the allegation that a police firearm was used in the murder. In light of the allegations around police weapons and the findings of the Special Commission of Inquiry into LGBTIQ hate crimes it is important to continue the conversation about the relationship between police and the queer community."

We urgently need to review the relationship between policing and their use of weapons. To that end, we propose that general duties Police Officers no longer carry firearms. Policing should be about harm minimisation not causing harm to others." 

"We also continue to join Redfern Legal Centre and Sue Higginson MLC in calling for an independent inquiry into police use of force and weapons to ensure that the settings are right. We understand that the Police Commissioner has announced that the Victorian Police will assist in a review of NSW weapons policies. This is not good enough. The inquiry needs to be independent of both the NSW government and any Police Force."

"The practice of police investigating police must also end. For as long as that practice continues the public's confidence in NSW Police will be diminished."

"It should be clear to the Police Commissioner that the relationship of the Force with the queer community is damaged. From the first Mardi Gras in 1978 to today, the community lacks confidence in NSW Police to keep us safe. We also lack confidence in the government to keep the NSW Police Force on the right track as they also drag their heels on progressive law reform to advance LGBTQI+ rights. While this conversation may have been instigated by tragic murders and unanswered questions from Police, it's part of a much longer conversation about policing and the queer community."

"We also urge the media and NSW Police to be sensitive in their reporting on this alleged violent act of intimate partner violence. We caution the media and NSW Police not fall into vicious tropes which community advocates have worked long and hard to dispel."