Media coverage: The Saturday Paper
In New South Wales, police now have quotas to search people and move on others. They call these “proactive strategies”. This financial year, they will conduct 237,089 searches. Some will be strip-searches. Some will be conducted against minors. Few will turn up results.
Police set these targets. They hoped for 241,632 searches last financial year, but fell short by a couple of thousand. There is no evidence the targets reduce crime. If anything, they distract police and malign the community.
On Thursday, Nicholas Cowdery, QC, told The Sydney Morning Herald that the quotas created a “great potential for abuse of power”. The state’s former director of public prosecutions said the “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”.
Most potently, he said the targets were “a political exercise on the part of the police and, consequently, on the part of the government”.