Enough is enough - Greens renew calls for inquiry into NSW Police
18 August 2023 - Greens NSW MP and spokesperson for justice Sue Higginson has today renewed calls for a parliamentary inquiry into NSW Police following reports of the violent arrest of an 18-year-old First Nations young person with a disability in Taree on Tuesday. The incident is the latest in a series of incidents involving police violence across the state.
Sue Higginson said: “The footage of this incident is shocking. A vulnerable person was experiencing a medical episode and the police responded with violence instead of calling an ambulance. This is completely unacceptable and shows us once again that we do have a police problem in this State.
“NSW Police have announced an internal investigation which goes nowhere near what is needed to deal with the systemic issues that allow this to happen. We need systemic accountability and this can’t be left up to the police to deal with one police officer at a time. There is clearly something going terribly wrong and we need to shine a light on the extent of this and develop a reform agenda that will fix the root cause of the problem.
“So far we haven’t seen a response from the NSW Government to the alarming number of violent incidents involving NSW Police and vulnerable people. Since May we have seen the conviction of a NSW Police officer for the violent arrest of a 16-year-old First Nations boy, the killing of 95-year-old dementia patient Clare Nowland, the shooting dead of Steve Pampalian who was experiencing a mental health episode, the revelation of the violent bashing of a Sydney dad in front of his son by NSW Police officer Jay Maleckas, police shooting dead a man in Glebe who they were called out to make a welfare check on and now this violent arrest of a First Nations teenager with a disability. This is a problem too far reaching and deeply embedded to be dealt with by NSW Police internally.
“There is a substantive deficit in the NSW Police’s ability to respond to vulnerable people such as those experiencing mental health distress, First Nations people and those from diverse backgrounds and people with disabilities. Police respond with violence when they are called out to help. The NSW Government cannot continue to deflect and avoid this, we need to examine the issue in depth and undertake the work needed to develop a better system that doesn’t result in people in need being assaulted and killed by police.
“I am calling on the NSW Government to support my calls for the establishment of an inquiry through a select committee into NSW Police responses to vulnerable people and ensure that we have systemic accountability and a reform agenda that considers policing not just for this term of government but for the long term. We know we have good people in the NSW Police force, but it’s not enough to leave this important work up to them. The Government must act.” Ms Higginson said.