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Hundreds Have Joined Class Action Against NSW Police For Strip Searches At Music Festivals

Hundreds Have Joined Class Action Against NSW Police For Strip Searches At Music Festivals

They're seeking damages from the state for the 'invasive' practice.

Hundreds of people have joined a class action lawsuit against NSW Police over strip searches conducted at music festivals.

It's a common sight in Australia to have cops roaming the entrance of a music festival.

Sometimes they'll have drug dogs trying to sniff any illicit substances you might have and if the pooch indicates a scent, then you could have to undergo a strip search.

However, a legal fight is afoot in the hopes of reprimanding the NSW Police force for their 'invasive' practices.

Redfern Legal Centre and law firm Slater and Gordon have filed the motion with the NSW Supreme Court.

The lawsuit argues police 'carried out unlawful acts including assault, battery and false imprisonment against festival goers' while looking for drugs.

MediaServicesAP/Alamy Live News

Redfern Legal Centre solicitor Samantha Lee said (via the ABC): "The legislation still allows for a child as young as 10 to be strip searched in New South Wales without a parent present.

"It still provides no clarification around cavity searches and squatting and coughing.

"It still allows police to strip search without a support person present. So we want to see not just internal policy changes, but some really significant changes to the law."

She added: "There is a level of embarrassment and shame, some of them don't even tell their parents because they were strip searched for suspicion of drug use and so they hang on to this really deep harm and emotion for a very long time.

"Every other government profession has strong child-protection policies, I see absolutely no reason why this practise (strip searching) is not removed from the NSW Police force."

An investigation into the police presence at music festivals in the state found they can actually do more harm than good.

The 2019 inquiry concluded that if there are loads of uniformed officers at the entrance of an event, along with drug detection dogs, it can cause festival goers to undertake 'panic ingesting' or 'dangerous preloading'.

The former relates to how some people will take all their drugs before they go in to avoid detection, which can overload a person's body and cause an overdose.

According to the ABC, the NSW Police Force won't be commenting on the class action lawsuit.

Drug dog accuracy has been questioned in the past, with one study suggesting the margin of error with using these animals is as high as 63 per cent.

Featured Image Credit: Brad McDonald/ Alamy Live News. Splendour in the Grass/Instagram

Topics: Australia