Statement from NSW Police Commissioner Karen Webb

Statement from NSW Police Commissioner Karen Webb APM

The organisation I have led since 2022 is committed to continuing to build and strengthen its relationship with the LGBTIQ+ community.

For those individuals and their families who have experienced hurt and suffering from the actions and attitudes of the past, I acknowledge your pain.

It is deeply regrettable and while I cannot undo what has occurred previously, I give you my commitment today that NSWPF is determined to uphold the policies, education, and training now entrenched in the practices of modern policing which did not exist 30 years ago.

As noted in the report NSWPF has made significant efforts since the 1990s to reassess and improve the ways in which it relates to the LGBTIQ+ community and responds to LGBTIQ+ concerns.

This is an ongoing priority for our organisation as we seek to serve the community of NSW with respect, fairness and inclusivity.

I also acknowledge the findings and the significant work undertaken by the Special Commission of Inquiry into LGBTIQ+ Hate Crimes.

This is a lengthy report and it is incumbent on our organisation that we allocate the appropriate time to review the report and its recommendations.

Statement from New South Wales Police Force

The New South Wales Police Force acknowledges the findings and the significant work undertaken by the Special Commission of Inquiry into LGBTIQ+ Hate Crimes.

Firstly, NSWPF recognises the victims and the enduring pain and suffering experienced by their families and loved ones. The courage and resilience shown by these families in their pursuit for truth and justice is profoundly acknowledged and respected by the Force.

From its inception, the Commissioner of Police – and the NSWPF as a whole – has fully supported the Inquiry, recognising its critical role in addressing the unsolved deaths and fostering better relations with the LGBTIQ+ community.

The level of assistance provided by the NSWPF to the Inquiry has been substantial; of note, more than 200 summonses have been responded to, and the NSWPF has produced more than 100,000 electronic documents.

It’s extremely important for the NSWPF to acknowledge the past shortcomings in historical investigations, particularly in responding to violence and discrimination against the LGBTIQ+ community, and in the exhibit management of cases relating to the Inquiry.

From the outset, NSWPF has recognised the past inadequacies and has been committed to adapting and evolving the culture and practices of the organisation.

While there has been a significant advancement in training, forensic technology, management of records and exhibits, and greatly enhanced investigative practices, the NSWPF recognises that there are areas where further improvements can be made.

It is also pertinent to highlight the significant initiatives and reforms undertaken by the NSWPF in recent years to improve the organisation’s relationship with the LGBTIQ+ community.

The implementation of these initiatives is not only aimed at ensuring an inclusive and supportive environment for the community, but also for within the Force itself.

Of note, NSWPF has developed the Sexuality Gender Diversity and Intersex (SGDI) Portfolio and the Gay Lesbian Liaison Officer / LGBTIQ+ Liaison Officer Program (GLLO Program); both programs play a crucial role in developing trust and respect between the Force and the LGBTIQ+ community.

GLLOs participate in various community engagements and events, working with stakeholder groups and government agencies to promote inclusive and respectful community engagement.

As part of NSWPF’s commitment to developing a stronger relationship with the LGBTIQ+ community, the organisation proudly participates in the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.

In March 2023, NSWPF supported the Sydney WorldPride events by providing a safe environment for all participants and committed to having a close working relationship with event organisers and the LGBTIQ+ community, as well as placing an emphasis on ensuring the policing response was sensitive to the needs of the community.

The Corporate Sponsor for Communities role is another key component within NSWPF that involves directing and leading the strategic objectives on LGBTIQ+ issues, including policy, strategy, and practice on initiatives that promote understanding, respect, and inclusivity.

Finally, in response to the recommendations presented by the Inquiry, as contained in its comprehensive report, the NSWPF is committed to a thorough and considered evaluation of each recommendation. While some recommendations align closely with initiatives already underway, the recommendations will be thoroughly assessed as part of the ongoing efforts to enhance the service and accountability of the NSW Police Force.

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