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Police Commissioner claims access to weapons will be subject to review following double homicide involving Senior Constable

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Sue Higginson
NSW Greens MP
17 April 2024

26 February 2024 - In answers to Greens questions, NSW Police Commissioner Karen Webb committed in Budget Estimates on Friday 23 February that access to firearms by sworn police officers would be part of the review into the double homicide that occurred involving a police issued firearm last week. Commissioner Webb also acknowledged that modern policing practices like community policing and policing by consent are being considered by the executive Government.

Greens MP and spokesperson for Justice Sue Higginson said “The deaths of two gay men from a police issued firearm is a tragic indictment on the existing processes that govern police firearms. The avoidability of these murders is compounded by the fact that the accused Senior Constable had previously been investigated for assault after firing a taser into the face of a First Nations man. That investigation was internal and the result was police protecting police,”

“The Police Commissioner has committed that access to firearms by police officers will be part of the investigation and review into these murders, but she qualified that all reviews involving police firearms are investigated. The real question is, will this review actually make findings that ensure police weapons are not resulting in wrongful death?”

“We do not need another review that makes the same recommendations as have occurred previously, we need to protect the community from deadly weapons - no matter who is holding them,”

“The Minister for Police also indicated on Friday morning that she would be open to an inquiry into modern police practices that will create systemic change to the justice system. This is overdue, but I welcome the Minister’s agreement that there are different ways for police to engage in their duties and that we should be examining them,”

“The Senior Constable that has been charged with the murders had previously been investigated for assault against a First Nations person, and yet he still had access to firearms. There should be an immediate review by the NSW Police of officers that have been investigated for violent crimes and whether it is reasonable for them to be carrying deadly weapons,”

“We need less deadly weapons in NSW, and we need them to be tightly controlled and their use limited. As the Commissioner said, there are more weapon systems available to police now than ever before. We need to turn this around and start the process to modernise police into a community wellbeing organisation, not just the paramilitary wing of the justice system,” Ms Higginson said.

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Sue Higginson
NSW Greens MP
17 April 2024


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