Group calls for change in policing in NSW
A coalition of people from the LGBTI community are calling for a change in the way policing is conducted in NSW.
Concerned at recent events such as alleged heavy handedness during the 2013 Mardi Gras Festival and Parade, the 69 signatories from a variety of gay, trans, intersex groups, bisexual people, women’s groups and queer groups, have issued a statement stating: "We want a police service, not a police force, in NSW".
In a seperate media statement, the group, co-organised by Morgan Carpenter and Jonny Bastin, said: "We believe that there's a consensus in LGBTIQ communities and community organisations that the current policing model in NSW isn't serving us".
The group are also concerned how the issue of policing has mostly been dealt with through two organisations - Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras and ACON - a process which they claim have led to the present situation.
"Dialogue with the police must be broad-based if it is to change the situation," the group's media statement said.
"Our communities are far bigger than ACON and the annual Mardi Gras, and discussions with police and government need to reflect that," Carpenter said.
"There's far more of a consensus about policing that seems to remain unspoken out loud. I hope we've helped to give voice to that, and helped create a mandate for change."
Bastin said he felt embarrassed and humiliated by the way people including overseas guests were treated.
"Deploying so many police at the parade, including officers from the dog squad, mounted horse unit, traffic and highway and transport commands plus the public order riot squad, is not an appropriate level of policing for a community celebration that has a good reputation for peaceful crowds," Bastin said.
"Our leadership organisations need to take a tougher stand on this."
One of the statement's signatories, Bobby Petty, said he felt the community was being "let down" by police.
"I want to live in a city where the police set an example to the people they serve, where policing is intelligent, respectful and appropriate and understands the rich fabric of Sydney's diverse cultures," Petty said.