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LECC urged to take action following ‘disgraceful misconduct’ by NSW police officer

Legal bodies have called on the Law Enforcement Conduct Commission to take action after a police officer touched the exposed nipple of a sedated Aboriginal minor whilst laughing with other officers.

user iconLauren Croft 11 April 2022 Politics
NSW Police
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The Law Enforcement Conduct Commission (LECC) has been called on to both examine NSW Police’s internal child protection policy and practice and bring criminal charges against an officer who touched the exposed nipple and stomach of a 15-year-old Aboriginal boy whilst he was in custody, sedated and restrained.

Following an investigation, the LECC found that the officer engaged in serious misconduct – which Aboriginal Legal Service chief executive Karly Warner has condemned.

“When confronted with a distressed child being transported to hospital because of concerns relating to mental health and self-harm, this police officer touched the child’s nipple while making ‘turkey gobbler’ noises and laughing. A group of police officers present then laughed at this humiliating and degrading treatment of a child,” she said.


“This behaviour is cruel and dehumanising, and the response from these other officers demonstrates an even bigger problem in the culture of NSW Police.”

Following a complaint by the ALS to the LECC in 2021 after the incident, the watchdog delivered a report last week, whereby it found that the “incident involved disgraceful conduct by [the officer] and all those officers who laughed with and at him. It was conduct that paid no regard to the feelings of the child who was in their custody. No one seemed to remember that [he] was just that, a child”.

The ALS and the child at the centre of the incident are calling for charges to be laid against the officer who touched the boy’s nipple.

“This man did not protect and serve. He is not fit to be a police officer nor to be in any position of power over others, let alone children. Together with our client, we expect the officer to be terminated from the police force immediately, and for criminal charges to follow,” Ms Warner said.

The Redfern Legal Centre has also called on the LECC to examine, in detail, the internal child protection policy and practice at NSW Police – something which Samantha Lee, senior solicitor with RLC’s police accountability practice, said she has held concerns about for a long time.

“Current NSW Police policy (supported by the law) allows for a police officer to be alone in a room with a child as young as 10, and order that child to take off all their clothes, lift their breasts or testicles, squat and often with no guardian or parent present,” she said.

“The fact that this highly disturbing incident appears to have been seen as a bit of lark by the officers involved, reveals a potential failing with NSW Police’s internal child protection policy and raises severe concerns around internal policing culture.”

Officers charged the child with assaulting police as a result of an altercation when they entered his holding cell, prior to him being placed on the ambulance stretcher. The charge was defended and dismissed by a magistrate who concluded upon viewing CCTV footage that officers had used excessive force.