Media coverage: Sydney Morning Herald
NSW Police aimed to conduct almost a quarter of a million personal searches last financial year as part of a quota-driven system slammed as a politically motivated "numbers game" by the state's ex-top prosecutor.
Figures revealed under freedom-of-information laws show individual police area commands are set targets for the execution of powers such as searches and move-on orders, as well as addressing an array of crimes, with people in some areas targeted for searches at nearly 13 times the average rate.
Former director of public prosecutions Nicholas Cowdery, QC, who is now the president of the NSW Council of Civil Liberties, said the use of targets meant there was "great potential for abuse of power."
"If a target is set by superior officers, especially a target that will be relevant to performance assessment, natural human response will be to seek to meet the target by proper or improper means - by fudging, by exercising power where it is not properly warranted," he said.