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‘It is not for the police to take the role of moral arbiter…’

Report harassment from Police and Council Rangers !

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END POLICE HARASSMENT!


Remember to REMAIN CALM and ALWAYS LOOK OUT FOR EACH OTHER
KNOW YOUR RIGHTS and
Ways to Keep Yourself Safe!

DO NOT RUN from Police and Council Rangers…
You have the right to be in a public place, at any hour of the day…

Police cannot approach you simply for being at a ‘known’ beat

If approached by police… always stay calm, be polite and follow their direction.

Don’t forget… you’re allowed to ask for the officers’ name, rank, and police station, which helps to identify the officer when you report the incident.

Please be aware police monitor social networking websites…
We suggest caution at all times when using these sites.

Please continue to monitor police activity and misconduct, and REPORT IMMEDIATELY.

To ensure your safety, you can report anonymously.

Points to remember:

  • Record the time and date of any incident
  • Write down everything the officer/s said to you… officers must remain professional and objective at all times. Officers cannot make inappropriate or homophobic comments – this is against the law and may constitute a hate-related crime!
  • Make sure you ask for the officers name… officers must clearly identify themselves if they approach you. If they do not tell you, then this is a serious breach of police policy and MUST be reported immediately. If this is the case, we suggest you record any details about the officer and/or identifying features on the vehicle – such as vehicle registration number.

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BE AWARE

Wednesday December 30 – 9.30pm

Received reports that office were shining torches in the bushes … some inappropriate comments were made – always make note of what was said and report immediately..

Remember, remain calm and do not run…  also avoid running toward exits or your vehicle as officers may be waiting for you.

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Thursday December 24 – 1am

Received report that officers were shining torches in the bushes …

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Thursday December 20

Received report that officers were running around and shining torches in the bushes …

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Saturday December 12

Received word that an unmarked police vehicle drove through the park shining bright lights into the groves, there was loud taunting laughter coming from the vehicle that could be heard from a distance, and men were chased and told to ‘F##k Off’… this is unacceptable behaviour.

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Updated November 16…

Police and Council Rangers continue to harass men at Sydney Park and other ‘known’ beats across NSW, and we continue to be concerned about your safety and well-being.

In Sydney Park, be aware that Council Rangers are accessing the park via the Southern End of the Groves, and have been observed driving fast through the groves and along paths.

Rangers will generally do a sweep of the groves, wait on the hill for a while, then sweep the groves again. Remember, DO NOT RUN from rangers, and we suggest caution as this reckless behaviour may put you at risk of injury.

Also be aware that police may appear after council rangers drive through. We have observed collusion between these two agencies, so please Remain Calm and DO NOT return to your car immediately as officers may be waiting at the entrances for you, or wandering through the bushes.

If you see rangers and police or are afraid, move toward other men in the area and stay close together – and walk away calmly. DO NOT RUN from police or rangers as they may chase you, and could put you at risk of injury.

We encourage you to continue to monitor police and ranger activity and REPORT your experience… Always alert others to any possible dangers.

If approached, always ask for the officers name, rank and station… we are about to launch an initiative where you can safely and anonymously report homophobic police officers and council rangers… Stay tuned!

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Monday morning, November 16 – 12am – Council Rangers were observed driving through the groves to flush men out, and then pushing them toward three police officers shining torches in the bushes. The officers chased after the men. The rangers and officers then grouped at the bridge and had a chat and laugh.

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Sunday evening, November 15 – Received report that council rangers ran towards a man yelling ‘go away dirty fag’ and ‘yeah, dont come back’. These homophobic rangers were being aggressive, and out to harass and intimidate. The man was obviously scared and shaken, and ran away.

Rangers and police officers cannot use inappropriate and homophobic language -  this is clearly a hate-related crime!

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Monday morning, April 13 – 12.45am – Four uniformed police officers observed walking along the path, shining their torches into the groves. They approached several men…

Monday morning, April 13 – 1.15am – Police vehicle observed driving through the park and groves…

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Sunday morning, April 12 – 1.30am – Police vehicle observed driving through the park and groves.

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Saturday morning, April 11 – 1.10am – Four uniformed police officers were observed shining their torches into the groves.

Two officers chased a man through the groves who was running away – who mentioned he ran because he was frightened of them. We are concerned that police officers continue to chase men and put them at risk of injury.

The other two officers spoke with two guys – who mentioned the officers were polite toward them.

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Thursday night, April 9 – 11.15pm – Four uniformed police officers from Redfern LAC were observed walking along the path, flashing their torches into the groves. They did not chase after the men walking away from the area.

The female officer was heard making derogatory comments. She said that seeing the men walking away from the area was ‘creepy’ and made a shuddering gesture, and that they reminded her of ‘zombies’ from a horror movie. The other officers laughed and encouraged her.

There is no need for these homophobic comments. To ridicule gay men in public is called homosexual vilification – and it is against the law! Police officers are NOT above the law, and this may constitute a hate-crime!

We support ‘non-intrusive patrols’ to ensure the safety of ALL people who use the park, and to encourage gay men to report homophobia and hate-crime to police. Unfortunately, these officers seemed aggressive and did not appear approachable. It’s time to ‘develop a foundation of respect and understanding.

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Remember to always remain calm and DO NOT run from police, and be aware that police may be waiting for you near the entrances. We encourage you to continue to monitor police activity and REPORT your experiences of police harassment immediately.

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Thursday morning, April 9 – 12.30am – Police vehicle from Redfern LAC was observed driving through the groves. Another vehicle was parked on the street and appeared to be waiting for men to leave the area.

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Time to work together – Catherine Burn – SX – April 1, 2009

A police force regressing to homophobia? This is simply not true. Here, the Assistant Commissioner lays out the case why the NSW Police is not an enemy of the GLBT community. Read more

“Should any officer not act according to the law and their oath of office, I would be horrified. Should a police officer not come to the aid of any person in distress, I would be mortified. If a police officer showed prejudice or homophobic attitudes particularly whilst on duty, I would be disgusted. It is not acceptable. But as with solving crime, we need the community to approach us. It needs to be reported, and I encourage everyone to make a complaint if they do experience such behaviour. I would certainly be happy to listen, respond and, where necessary, investigate”, Assistant Commissioner and Region Commander, Catherine Burn.

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March 29 – To the fella who reported ‘Did nothing wrong was alone in the car. Police hassled me for 2 hours.’ – could you please provide more information about this incident. Thanks.

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Step back in time – Kathy Sant – SX – March 18, 2009

The venue lockouts and oppressive police actions at our events indicate a police force and government regressing to homophobia, writes Kathy Sant.

Sant said that while the NSW Police Force had worked hard to improve relations with the GLBT community in the past, “the police are now our enemy again – not all individuals, but the organisation and too many of its members”. Read more

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Police reject claims of hostility, aggression – SX – March 18, 2009

NSW Police have rejected claims made by GLBT community stalwart and prominent barrister Kathy Sant that police are treating the queer community in a hostile manner and displaying aggression towards the community at Mardi Gras and other community events. Read more

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Sunday morning, March 8 – 3am – We have received a report that the 3 officers from Redfern LAC who were present in the groves, were observed taking registration details of vehicles parked on the street.

This is clearly a waste of police resources. Surely there must be more serious matters to address.

You have every right to be in the park at any hour of the day.

If you have been approached or contacted as a result of police taking your vehicle registration number, or if this information is ever used against you, REPORT any incident of police harassment immediately, and lodge a FORMAL COMPLAINT with the NSW Ombudsman.

Your reports will be included in our complaint to the Police Integrity Commission, and will be treated with strict confidence. This is unacceptable! Vilification is against the law.

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Friday, March 13 – We are awaiting a response from Nancy de Castro, Project Coordinator Anti-Violence Project (AVP), to ascertain the AVP / ACON position on police harassment at beats.

We have raised concerns that AVP / ACON has been aware of police harassment for some time and has failed to address community concerns – especially regarding police searching men for condoms, and we are seeking an explanation.

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Wednesday morning, March 11 – 2.45am – Council Rangers were observed driving through the groves with the flashing amber lights.

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Sunday morning, March 8 – 3am – Report received of 3 police officers present in the groves, walking through with torches. Surely there must be more serious matters to address.

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Saturday morning, March 7 – 2am – Council Rangers were observed driving toward the groves, then turned on their flashing amber lights. Maybe they were ‘testing out’ the lights for the Mardi Gras Parade…? The flashing lights were turned off whilst they drove through the rest of the park.

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Thursday, March 5 – Contacted the Police Integrity Commission and discussed the serious pattern of misconduct by officers and Command at Redfern LAC. We will continue to pursue this matter and keep you informed.

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Tuesday morning, March 3 – 12.30am – We observed police officers from Newtown driving through the park in a non-intrusive manner. They were very polite and we support this new approach by NSW Police.

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Monday, March 2 – Spoke with Nancy de Castro, Project Coordinator Anti-Violence Project (AVP), to ascertain AVP / ACON position on police harassment.

We have also raised concerns that AVP / ACON has been aware of police harassment for some time and has failed to address community concerns – especially about police searching men for condoms. We are seeking an explanation and will keep you informed.

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Friday night, February 20 – We have received a disturbing report that officers from Redfern LAC arrived in a police van, shone lights around the groves, and yelled ‘get out of here you filthy animals’.

This is clearly homophobic police harassment and a hate-crime!

This level of homophobic language and activity from police officers from Redfern LAC is completely unacceptable, and we will be addressing our concerns of serious police misconduct with the Police Integrity Commission.

We also understand that Redfern LAC may be working outside of police policy on beats, and we have reason to believe that City of Sydney Council Rangers may be colluding with them to harass and intimidate men – we will address this issue with NSW Police and Clover Moore, and will keep the community informed.

REPORT incidences of police harassment immediately. Your reports will be included in our complaint to the Anti-Discrimination Board and Police Integrity Commission, and will be treated with strict confidence. We also encourage you to lodge a FORMAL COMPLAINT.

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Report of council rangers driving through groves to flush men out, while police vehicle blocked access to highway while waiting for them. This behaviour from City of Sydney Council and Redfern Police is unacceptable.

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Friday February 6, 1.30am. Council Rangers observed driving slowly through groves, and report of police vehicle waiting near the entrance. Remember to always STAY CALM and DO NOT RUN – you have the right to be in the park at any time.

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Tuesday, February 3, around midnight. Report received that several police officers were waiting near bridge, in the dark with their torches turned off, to catch men as they walked by. This entrapment-like behaviour is unacceptable.

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Thursday night, January 22, some time between 11.30pm and 12.30am. Disturbing report received of man being chased through the bushes by five undercover police officers.

This behaviour is unacceptable. If you are approached by undercover officers and believe their actions were unreasonable or may constitute entrapment, or encounter any activity that is out of the ordinary, REPORT the incident immediately and lodge a FORMAL COMPLAINT.

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Thursday night January 22. At midnight, three police officers were observed walking into the park under the cover of darkness. They hid behind a tree, then made a quick approach towards the groves.

A SBP representative approached them, identified himself and informed them he was there to monitor their activity. The police officers then pushed past him, moving quickly toward the groves, and initially did not give their name and details when requested. The male officer then told him after several requests.

Several men were observed running from the area and the male officer sent a message to other officers who were close by. The police officers approached and questioned a man, which the SBP representative attempted to witness, but was pulled aside and told that he would be locked up if he didn’t leave the area. Several other officers were also observed questioning another man close by. The officer assured him that police are not homophobic, pointing out that several of the officers were gay themselves, and that they would continue to patrol the park.

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We have received numerous reports that police are continuing to intimidate and harass men, and also telling them that it is ‘unreasonable’ to be walking around a park at night. You have the right to use and be in a public place at any hour of the day, with or without a ‘reasonable’ excuse.

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We have received several reports that police have been searching men for condoms. It is NOT against the law to carry condoms – You have the right to carry safe sex equipment. This intimidating behaviour by police is dangerous and unconscionable, and in direct opposition to public health policy.

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Two police vans observed driving through Sydney Park in excess of the 10km/hr speed limit on Friday Jan 2 at 11.15pm. They drove to the top of the hill and parked either side of a man standing near the bench. Five officers approached the man, who was questioned and then moved on.

The officers walked around the vehicles, one had a cigarette. They then drove directly to the groves, then through the park. They were there for 30 minutes. We have received reports that police wagons were also present in the park. We will continue to monitor their activity and keep you informed.

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Council Rangers have been observed driving through park to ‘flush out’ men, who are then being approached by police waiting at the entrance. Remember to STAY CALM and DO NOT RUN.

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We believe that NSW Police, local councils and certain members of the GLBTI community and its organisations have chosen the wrong approach to the beat issue.

We are concerned that police are not acting reasonably and responsibly, not following correct police procedure, and ultimately putting men at risk.

Unfortunately, they are intent on closing the beats down at any cost, even if it means harassing and intimidating men at night, chasing them around the park, searching them for condoms, and diverting their resources away from addressing more serious crime.

In the process, they have offended, hurt, alienated and enraged members of the community – and still the GLBTI community is kept in the dark about its community organisations that actually support and condone police harassment. Unfortunately, they believe beat sex is an ‘indecent act’, and continue to ignore beat users as a result.

We support NSW Police and local councils and their presence at beats, and would greatly appreciate non-intrusive patrols to ensure the safety and protection of the men who frequent them.

We also support greater cooperation and responsibility between beat users and the wider community, and an emphasis on police working with the beat community to ensure beat users are kept safe from hate-crimes.

We have spoken to many men who are too afraid to report hate-crimes to the police or believe the police are not interested in helping them, and we are troubled by this. We want to see police responding to instances of hate-crime with compassion and sensitivity, and not be dismissive, rude and judgmental.

We are appalled by the increasing level of homophobia in our society.

The current climate and inaction to address homophobic violence has only served to condone and perpetuate harassment and hate-crimes, especially around Oxford Street and other gay haunts.

We do not want an increase in homophobic violence at beats, and emphasise the need for police and beat users to work together to end hate-crime.

We believe that police and council resources could be better utilised to ensure beat users are protected from homophobic harassment and violence, and support regular non-intrusive patrols of beats.

We believe police should be targeting bashers and gangs of youths with knives – not beat users, and sending a clear message that homophobia and any act of hatred towards homosexuals will not be tolerated, and that they will be subject to the full force of the justice system.

We believe police should work towards repairing confidence and building trust so that beat users will report homophobia and hate-crimes, instead of fearing police and suffering in silence.