UPDATE ON POLICING AT MARDI GRAS
- Community & Police Forum announced for next week
- Ombudsmen confirms they have begun monitoring investigation with independent eyes
- Police & Rally organisers commit to peaceful rally
- Greenwich to meet with Police Minister & Commissioner to plan ahead for next year
Statement ahead of tonight's rally from Alex Greenwich MP:
People are rightly angry about the serious incidents involving Police during the 2013 Mardi Gras festival. We want professional policing and we want action on rogue police officers.
I’ve been inundated with telephone calls, Facebook messages and emails from concerned constituents and other community members. People have also been reporting incidents to the Anti-Violence Project, Inner City Legal Centre and to police.
The massive community response and immediate official reaction demonstrates how far we have come – none of this would have been possible even a few years ago.
No-one can condone the brutality we saw online. Police should use the minimum restraint and not cause physical harm.
Events involving hundreds of thousands of people have to be managed carefully, and officers need to use discretion, with support from their superiors. They need careful planning to prevent problems and foresee conflict points.
The rule of law means we have to let the courts deal with the charges from these incidents. The people and the officers involved all deserve fair treatment, not trial by media or by mob.
In response to my call for an urgent meeting, the Minister for Police met with me and Mardi Gras representatives on Wednesday. He committed to giving this matter priority, ensure prompt investigation, and to a meeting with me and the Police Commissioner next week.
I have asked the NSW Ombudsman to oversee the Police investigation and review the findings. The Ombudsman has assured me they are independent and will not shy away from criticising police or procedures.
Some people are concerned that these investigations might be swept under the carpet. I don’t believe this will happen – because the LGBTI community won’t let it. NSW Police and the Government know that we will be watching every step of the way.
We do need an independent investigation system for police that both police and the community can trust. We should not be doing this in knee jerk reaction, and I will be working for a better system that commands respect and confidence.
This is not the time to instil fear of police. We should not discourage people from reporting crime, especially gay hate crime. We should not undermine the reform that has occurred and the relationships we have with our local Police Commands.
I want to make sure that all future Mardi Gras events are safe and well managed. We need to review Mardi Gras policing and make sure that all Police treat participants and visitors with respect and dignity.
I am meeting the Police Commissioner next week and working with Mardi Gras and operational Police to make sure next year does not have these problems. We have organised a forum to have an open and thorough discussion with Police next Tuesday 19 March at 7pm at the Teachers Federation Hall 23 Mary St Surry Hills. For details and to register to attend click HERE.
I urge you to make sure this is a peaceful and effective demonstration that gets your voice heard; not another site of conflict.