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Frequently Asked Questions




• Your Safety
• Your Responsibilities


• Why do police patrol beats
• What do I do if approached by police
• Can officers search me for condoms
• I saw an officer record my vehicle registration
• Officers told me I’m on their Database
• I was entrapped by Plain-clothed Officers… can police do that
• Officers looked under the cubicle door… can police do that
• Can I walk away if I’m being harassed


• Where can I get legal advice


• Report Homophobic Officers
• Can I make a complaint about Police harassment
• I’m afraid Police will come after me if I make a report


• Report Hate-Crime and homophobic violence
• Report Hate-Crime — Contacting NSW Police
• But… I don’t trust police


• UK News: Law lords rule that sex in public is not illegal
• Is there a better approach


 

Your Safety

 
It’s important to aware of ways to ensure your safety:

  • Always be aware of your surroundings… especially at night when you’re more vulnerable to bashers and homophobic police officers
  • Always be aware where entrances and exits are located
  • Always look out for each other… notify others of any danger in the area — keep yourself and others safe
  • Always be confident and assertive… avoid any verbal and/or physical confrontation with bashers and homophobic police officers
  • Safely remove yourself from any danger… leave the area if you feel unsafe and always follow your gut feeling
  • Join others in the area if threatened… try not to scatter, bashers and homophobic officers will often pick off the weakest — there’s greater safety in numbers, and keeping together also provides witnesses should officers do or say anything inappropriate
  • Don’t be distracted by music or mobile phones
  • Police monitor social networking sites… avoid posting information that may identify you or attract their attention
  • We suggest caution if you’re approached by officers



Your Responsibilities

 
It’s important that you take responsibility and play your part to ensure the impact on local residents and other users of the area is reduced.

  • Always be discrete — don’t make it too obvious
  • Always take care and look out for each other
  • Don’t be a nuisance… keep away from areas such as playgrounds during the day
  • Always be mindful of noise… especially in residential areas at night
  • Always take your litter with you… most complaints to council and police are due to used condoms and general litter being left behind
  • Tidy any litter in the area… please pick up any litter and dispose properly
  • Respect the environment and don’t venture into re-vegetation areas in National Parks
  • We recommend you have regular STI checks to avoid the spread of infections — your sexual health is important — discrete and anonymous testing is available through your local health clinic


  • Why do police patrol beats

     
    Police patrol beats for a number of reasons… there may be complaints from local residents or assaults reported in the area — always expect that you may be approached, so it’s best to be prepared.

    In relation to offensive behaviour, actual offensive behaviour should be witnessed before approaching a person.

    Officers are advised to be courteous and polite at all times, and to undertake ‘high visibility policing’ (i.e. uniformed officers in marked police vehicles), as it may have ‘sufficient deterrent value… without having to engage with members of the public’.

    Officers cannot record your personal details into the COPS system, simply because you are in an area that is a ‘known’ beat.

    Not all officers are homophobic and many are genuinely concerned for your safety… we support and encourage professional behaviour by officers, however it’s important to identify homophobic and non-responsive officers, and to be aware when officers are not following procedures on policing beats and/or breaking the law themselves — make sure you report it.

    • Officers must always be polite and courteous… and should ‘remain objective and professional at all times’.
    • Officers MUST patrol beats in pairs at all times… they cannot split off.
    • Individual officers cannot patrol beats, approach you, or take your personal and vehicle registration details – they’re not following procedures and must be reported.
    • When officers approach you, they must clearly identify themselves and tell you why you’ve been approached before they can ask any questions or “interview” you… if they don’t tell you, you’re allowed to ask for their name, rank and station, and why you’re being questioned.
    • Generally, you have the right not to answer police questions – the right to remain silent. You can answer ‘no comment’ to every question, except for your name and address. Remember, police only ask questions to get evidence to incriminate you – anything you say can be taken down and used in evidence against you.
    • Officers may ask for your identification and perform a background check… there is no general law in NSW that requires you to identify yourself to a police officer… our experience indicates they may attempt to intimidate you, so we suggest you provide this information.


    Officers must be respectful and courteous at all times… they cannot make inappropriate or homophobic comments, and cannot ask if you’re a homosexual — this is vilification and against the law.

    Inappropriate comments include:

    • You’re a homosexual aren’t you…
    • We know what you’re doing here…
    • You’re one of ‘them’, aren’t you…
    • Go home to your wife and children…


    Be aware that officers may play ‘good cop, bad cop’… they may try to engage you in small talk, or act offended (“I was only trying to be friendly”)… or attempt to intimidate you so you respond negatively (“we know what you’re doing here”) — don’t bite or play their game.

    Officers may perform a background check to look for another reason or excuse to intimidate you and/or fine or charge you.

    Be aware that plain-clothed officers are known to ‘act’ like beat users and may try to entrap you and/or play ‘agent provocateur’… this is against police procedure — report any encounter immediately.

    Be aware that officers are also known to perform illegal searches of men, their computers, and vehicles — report any encounter immediately, we can assist you with legal advice.



    What do I do if approached

     
    If approached by officers:

    • Always remain calm if approached by officers, or you see lights approaching in the distance… officers will approach you if they find you in the area
    • DO NOT RUN — officers are trained to chase and may put you at risk of injury, even though it may sometimes be difficult to differentiate between bashers and homophobic officers — running away implies you’re ‘guilty’ of something
    • Calmly walk to safety… officers do not care if you thought they were bashers and you’re running because you were afraid for your safety
    • There’s no need to be afraid of officers… it’s NOT ILLEGAL to be in a public place at any hour of the day — remain calm, join other men in the area and walk to safety — DO NOT RUN
    • Always speak to officers in a confident and polite manner… officers have been known to be disrespectful and will try to intimidate you, and will intimidate you further if they know you’re scared of them
    • Uniformed and Plain-Clothed Officers must clearly identify themselves on approach and before they question you
    • You’re allowed to ask why you’re being questioned
    • You’re allowed to ask for the officers name, rank and station and to see identification… especially if you believe the officer is being homophobic and/or treating you inappropriately
    • Always remain calm if you’re approached by officers… follow their direction if they ask you to move on — even if you don’t agree or they try provoke you with an inappropriate comment — officers may also ask for your identification and what you’re doing in the area
    • Be aware that officers may behave in an aggressive manner toward you… DO NOT bite back
    • Always be polite and courteous – never swear or get angry toward an officer – even if provoked… if you don’t agree, ask for the officers name, rank and station and advise them you will make a complaint against them – calmly walk away
    • Note what officers did and said to you… officers may try to intimidate you and/or make inappropriate comments — officers are also known to perform a background check and attempt to intimidate men with an unrelated matter.
    • Make sure you sight the officers identification… uniformed officers must clearly display their identification at all times, and they cannot cover their badge.
    • Always note the vehicle make and registration if approached by officers in an unmarked vehicle.
    • Ensure plain-clothed officers clearly identify themselves on approach – bashers often identify themselves as officers — if you’re in doubt and afraid for your safety, call for help and remove yourself from the situation — alert others to danger — immediately notify police on 000 – even if they really are plain-clothed officers that refused to identify themselves
    • If officers refuse to give you their name, rank and station… this is against police procedure – you have every right to request this information, and they must tell you. If they persist, DO NOT argue with them, but simply make note of vehicle registration and details, date and time – this will help you identify the officer.
    • Officers CANNOT ask if you’re gay, married or in a relationship… this is inappropriate conduct and you do not have to respond to this question… simply ask for the officers name, rank and station and advise them that you will be making a complaint… calmly and confidently walk away and report the incident
    • Discrimination by officers is unacceptable and against the law — immediately report any incident with homophobic police officers — consider lodging a formal complaint against the officer
    • Consider making a complaint against homophobic police officers — it’s easy and we can help
    • You have the right to take photographs of officers, but you cannot record their voice without informing them first.



    If you’ve been approached by a homophobic officer, please REPORT or send us an EMAIL.



    Can officers search me for condoms?

     
    NO… officers cannot search you for condoms.

    It is not against the law to carry condoms… officers cannot ask if you’re carrying condoms and/or search you for condoms — and they cannot intimidate you for having them.

    This approach works on the principle that if you’re carrying a condom, then there is intention to engage in an offensive behaviour… yet, negates years of public health education and is just stupid -– we recommend you continue to practice safer sex at all times.

    We’ve raised these concerns on several occasions with NSW Police, ACON, and the Department of Health… yet they’ve been reluctant to comment about such practices by officers.

    If you’re searched and/or intimidated because you were carrying condoms, remain calm and ask for the officers name, rank and station – they must tell you… advise them that you will make a complaint about their behaviour, and calmly walk away.

    If officers attempt to intimidate you and/or refuse to give you their name, don’t bite back – simply take note of the time and vehicle registration details if possible.

    If you’ve been searched and/or intimidated, REPORT anonymously… or send us an EMAIL.



    I saw an officer record my vehicle registration…

     
    If you see a uniformed and/or plain-clothed officer recording your details, always ask for their name, rank and station, and why they are recording your details – or note the vehicle registration and details.

    Under no circumstances should information such as people’s names and addressed or vehicle registration plates be entered into COPS purely on the basis that a person was at an area that is also a beat.

    You are also allowed to ask why the officer is recording your vehicle registration details.

    If you also believe you’ve been harassed as a result of having your details recorded – this includes: if officers mention you’ve been seen in the area before, if officers turn up at your home (also a tactic used to shame and intimidate married men), or pull you over on the street… then you need to report it immediately.

    DO NOT PANIC – You have every Right to be in a public area at any hour of the day.



    Officers told me I’m on their database…

     
    We’ve raised this concern on several occasions with police, and they vehemently deny the existence of a database… even though we have received numerous reports that officers have mentioned one exists.

    In practice, any encounter you have with officers is noted on your record – and is accessed when officers perform a background check – even though officers cannot record your personal details into their system simply because you were at a ‘known’ beat.

    Men have also been told that their details have been added to the ‘Sexual Offenders’ database – disgusting.



    I was entrapped by Plain-clothed Officers… can Police treat us like this

     
    Police entrapment and ‘Agent Provocateur’ are against police procedure – and against the law.

    Any evidence obtained through these practices cannot be used in court.

    DO NOT PAY any fines… seek legal representation if you were fined or charged — forward a copy of any fines and/or paperwork received by police, simply scan and send to EMAIL.

    Recent reports about the use of plain-clothed officers to entrap men across Sydney and on the Central Coast is cause for great concern… covert operations at beats must be authorised by senior management, and may be evidence of serious misconduct.



    An officer looked under the cubicle door… can they do that

     
    Officers are advised they cannot look under or over a closed cubicle door, or look through a crack in the door.

    Officers may wait until you’ve left the cubicle before they approach and ask what you were doing… remain calm… officers can’t assume what you were doing in the cubicle.

    If officers make any inappropriate comments or accuse you of anything, ask for their name, rank and station and politely advise you will be making a complaint.

    Always seek legal advice if you’ve been charged and/or fined.



    Walk away if you’re being harassed

     

    If you believe you are being harassed by officers and have not been charged, then you have every right to walk away.

    Calmly ask the officer for their name, rank and station, advise them you will be making a complaint — and walk away.

    Note anything the officer does and says to you and make a complaint… seek legal advice if officers harass you further.

    Also be aware that officers may attempt to detain you and look for other reasons to charge you — such as performing a breath test or search your vehicle… officers cannot detain you unnecessarily and without charge.



    Seek Legal Advice

     
    Always seek legal advice if you have been arrested, charged and/or fined, and believe you have been treated inappropriately by police.

    If you get into trouble with police and need legal advice or representation and/or support with your complaint… please contact the Inner City Legal Centre for free and independent advice — Ph: 02 9332 1966

    Please let us know that you’ve sought legal advice –- EMAIL.

    We can also assist you to seek legal advice if you wish to remain anonymous… simply contact us via email.



    Report Homophobic Officers

     
    We regularly receive reports that officers are being overly aggressive and behaving in a homophobic and inappropriate manner – and recording personal and vehicle registration details.

    Officers cannot approach and/or record your personal and vehicle registration details simply because you are in an area that is a ‘known beat’.

    It’s been reported that officers (sometimes plain-clothed officers pretending to be residents) are recording vehicle registration details, then uniformed officers will approach you at your home the next day — it’s is not offence to be in a public area — this may be illegal — report immediately, we can assist you with legal advice.

    Officers have also been questioning and intimidating men about their sexuality, and intimidating men for being in the area to engage in ‘homosexual acts’… officers cannot ask if you’re a homosexual or tell you they ‘know what you’re doing in the area’ – to do so is vilification.

    Harassment, discrimination and vilification are all forms of violence and violence in any form – physical violence, verbal abuse, threats of violence, property damage, discrimination, harassment or intimidation – is totally unacceptable.

    Do not tolerate any homophobic and/or inappropriate comments by officers – this implies serious misconduct by officers and senior police management.

    If you believe officers are being homophobic… make sure you note the date, time, what officers did and said to you, and always ask for their name, rank and station… you can also note the police vehicle details which will help identify officers.

    There are also concerns that officers may be turning a blind eye to vigilante behaviour and hate-related crime – incidents have been reported in Sydney, Central Coast, and the Newcastle/Hunter area.

    If you encounter a homophobic police officer and/or any vigilante behaviour and hate-related crime, you can anonymously REPORT or send us an EMAIL.



    Can I make a complaint about Police harassment…

     

    Yes, you sure can.

    You have the Right to make a complaint against a police officer if you believe you have been treated unfairly or officers have not maintained a standard of professional conduct… police are aware that beat users will generally not make a complaint.

    This does little to build trust — and discourages men from reporting homophobic violence at beats.

    Making a complaint against a Police Officer is easy… the NSW Ombudsman generally encourages people to firstly try to resolve their grievances directly with the agency concerned… this generally requires you to lodge a complaint in writing to the NSW Police – and gives them a chance to address your concerns.

    If you’re not satisfied with their response, the NSW Ombudsdman will do their best to help you resolve the matter, which may involve just making a phone call or a formal investigation into the conduct of police.

    These ongoing concerns may also warrant the need for further investigation by the Police Integrity Commission – who’s principal functions is to detect, investigate and prevent police misconduct, and as far as practicable, is required by law to turn its attention to serious police misconduct by NSW police officers, administrative officers, and officers of the NSW Crime Commission.

    Contact us if you need any assistance to make a complaint about an officer.



    I’m afraid Police will come after me if I make a report…

     
    Making a complaint against an officer can seem a complex and frustrating process – and many men have indicated they fear retribution from police — please note intimidation and victimisation is against the law.

    Please contact us if you need further information or any assistance to lodge your complaint… we can also act on your behalf and will assist you to seek legal advice if needed. Read more.



    Report Hate-Crime and homophobic violence

     
    Immediately notify police – 000 – if you experience and/or witness any hate-related crime… whether by local residents, homophobic ‘thugs’, and gangs of youths… this is a criminal act.

    We can also assist if you prefer not to contact police… please REPORT or send us an EMAIL


    If you’re confronted by bashers or assaulted:

    • Remain calm and never put yourself in harms way
    • Move to safety – Never yell back or provoke them
    • Always alert others to any danger in the area — look out for each other
    • Always stay close to others if possible — try not to scatter, there’s greater safety in numbers
    • Safely assist others in harms way – dial 000 and tell them VERY LOUDLY that police are on the way
    • Safely monitor their activity… note description of bashers or vehicle registration details – this may better assist police to identify bashers


    When speaking with police to report the incident:

    • Remain calm when you report to 000… the operator will assist you — stay focussed — provide as much information as possible… you can also request to remain anonymous.
    • Speak openly and honestly… officers cannot dismiss your report or intimidate you because you were in the area – report if they do
    • Provide a Victim Statement… bashers know that most men will not report or ‘out’ themselves to police, which only encourages them further (aka vigilante empowerment)



    The current Crime Prevention approach to policing beats has resulted in greater fear and mistrust of police… many men have indicated they would not report hate-crime to police, whether as a result of previous negative experiences with officers and/or fear of being ‘outed’.

    Many men also fear of reprisals from officers, and fear retribution from vigilante residents and bashers.

    From the police perspective, they cannot catch these vigilante criminals without a victim, witness statements, and reports… we have a responsibility to work with police and inform them of hate-related crime – so let’s report it, and work toward implementing a fresh approach to address these issues and build trust — without judgement or shame.

    There is also a very real concern that officers may be turning a blind-eye to vigilante behaviour and hate-related crime, and ignoring reports from men who’ve been physically and verbally assaulted. This raises serious concerns about the safety of men, and the possibility of misconduct and corruption across several Regional Commands and by Senior Management.

    We will continue to actively encourage NSW Police to adopt guidelines from the UK on effectively policing beats… and initiatives in Amsterdam, where beat use is no longer considered to be a criminal activity.

    A discussion is required to evaluate current crime prevention strategies by NSW Police and councils – which have clearly failed. These strategies have displaced men, often moving them into areas where they may be more vulnerable to attack.

    We welcome your comments and feedback and will keep you informed.

    Please report any vigilante behaviour and hate-related crime to police… if you have a negative experiences with officers when reporting hate-crime, please let us know so we can assist you and follow it up. You can REPORT or send us an EMAIL.

    We can also forward information to police on your behalf to ensure your anonymity…. yes, you can remain anonymous.



    Contacting NSW Police

     
    Report homophobic acts to police as soon as possible.

    There are several ways to immediately notify police… and please let us know.

    • Contact Police Immediately on 000… if you or anyone else is in immediate danger
    • Contact Police Assistance Line (PAL) on 131 444… if you need assistance and/or to report after an incident has occurred
    • Contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000… if you have information about vigilante behaviour and/or hate-related crime
    • We can assist you to contact your local Police Gay Lesbian Liaison Officer (GLLO)… you can also contact your local police station or phone 02 9281 0000

    Homophobic Attacks are Criminal Acts– and must be reported to police.



    But… I don’t trust police…

     
    Many men have indicated they’re reluctant to report homophobic attacks to police, and many consider officers to be non-responsive and homophobic… however, if you’re reluctant to notify police, we can act on your behalf or assist you to access a Gay and Lesbian Liaison Officer (GLLO) in your area.

    Gay and Lesbian Liaison Officers are sensitive to the law enforcement and safety needs of gay men and lesbians, and recognise the disproportionate level of violence perpetrated against the gay and lesbian community. They assist gay and lesbian victims of crime and also work to reduce violence related to homophobic attitudes in the community.

    • Officers must at all times undertake their duties in a professional and courteous manner, regardless of the situation or their thoughts on the matter… this includes their response to reports of homophobic and vigilante activity at areas that are ‘known’ beats, and they must be polite and courteous when approaching beat users.
    • Officers cannot pass moral judgement and tell you to ‘go home to your wife and children’ if you identify as a married man
    • Officers may ask what you’re doing in the area… remain calm – simply because you’re in an area that is a ‘known’ beat is not illegal and should not cloud their judgement or hinder any investigation into the assault
    • Officers cannot charge you or harass you simply because you are there, and should be reminded that vigilante behaviour is a greater crime
    • >If officers are dismissive or treat you disrespectfully, please report to us immediately – please provide their name and station, and details of what they did and said to you
    • It’s important to follow up on your reports – we can assist you if required



    UK News: Law lords rule that sex in public is not illegal

    Nov 7 2010, Sunday Mail – View Article

    Law Lords have given the thumbs up to outdoor sex – as long as couples aren’t trying to be seen.

    All public sex acts used to be considered acts of indecency.

    But a landmark decision by three judges has quashed a conviction handed out to a man and a woman engaged in a sex act in a Dundee cemetery.

    Experts believe it means rules about public sex have been turned upside down.

    One source said: “If couples have sex in a location that is not a busy public place or area, and have taken efforts to conceal themselves, they are unlikely to be convicted.

    “Essentially, you are not committing a crime if someone stumbles upon you.

    Read the Transcript – OPINION OF THE COURT delivered by LORD BONOMY

    Read More about what’s been happening in the UK, and Amsterdam.

    Online Poll and Comments – Should sex in public be decriminalised



    Is there a better approach?

     
    We continue to encourage a working relationship with NSW Police to raise concerns about police harassment and inappropriate responses to hate-related crime and vigilante behaviour… and applaud Supt. Donna Adney on her efforts to foster a greater understanding on issues around beat use, and addressing hate-related crime and vigilante behaviour.

    We also commend Supt. Adney to address negative perceptions and mistrust toward NSW Police that results in an unwillingness to report homophobic activity and/or assist officers in their enquiries.

    It’s become clear that current crime prevention measures have failed, and continue to jeapordise the safety of beat users… a new approach is required to build trust, and better deter vigilante behaviour and hate-related crime as criminal acts that are punishable by the law.

    We welcome your suggestions and comments – REPORT IMMEDIATELY or send us an EMAIL