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Your Rights and Safety

Your Rights

Harassment, Vilification and Discrimination based on your sexuality is illegal…





Police harassment and intimidation is unacceptable.

Police may try to intimidate you and may ignore your rights, especially if you are alone and vulnerable and there are no witnesses, so it’s important to be prepared and know your rights and ways to make your beat experience safer:

  • You have the right to use and be in a public place, at any hour of the day. You have this right without needing a good reason for being there, however you may be asked to ‘move on’. Police cannot arrest you for simply being there.
  • You have the right to carry safe sex equipment (condoms and lube). Police have been searching men for condoms and using safe sex equipment as evidence of intent to engage in public sex. It is not against the law to carry condoms. We are extremely concerned that ACON. AVP and the NSW Beats Interagency Group have turned a blind eye to this unacceptable activity, and that this may lead to an increase in unsafe behaviour and spread of STI’s and HIV. We strongly encourage beat users to practice safe consensual sex at all times.
  • You have the right to ask police for their name and which station they are from. If asked, they must tell you. If they do not tell you, or cover their badge, make a note of the identifying letters and numbers on the side of the police vehicle. This will assist to identify officers should you decide to lodge a complaint.
  • You have the right to ask police the police officer why they are questioning you. Always be polite and make a note of what the officer tells you.
  • You have the right not to have identification on you. Police may ask what you’re doing and if you have any identification when they approach you – this is standard procedure. In our experience, it’s been easier to carry some, but it’s not a legal requirement. The may do a background check.
  • You have the right to make a complaint to the NSW Ombudsman if you believe you were harassed by police at a beat, or as a result of having your personal details recorded at a beat – officers have been known to target men, especially in rural and regional areas where men are more vulnerable…

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Police officers have a Standards of Professional Conduct and must work within the law at all times. These Standards remain relevant – regardless of the nature of the incident.

    • Officers cannot use inappropriate, offensive or homophobic language – it is against the law. It has been reported, on many occasions, that officers are using inappropriate and homophobic language, being judgmental and expressing negative emotional responses towards men at ‘known’ beats. This is commonly referred to as ‘Police Misconduct’.
    • Officers must remain objective at all times and must be polite and courteous toward you. According to guidelines set out under ‘Standards of Professional Conduct’, officers must at all times treat everyone with respect, courtesy and fairness, and respond to any incident in a professional and objective manner – whether they approve of the behaviour or not.
    • There are also Anti-Discrimination laws in place that deal with any inappropriate or homophobic language and/or behaviour.
    • Officers cannot record your personal details into their system simply for being in an area that is a ‘known’ beat.
    • Officers must identify themselves when they approach and question you.

    This section relates to NSW law only. Other States and Territories may differ. Information has been obtained from legal advice.