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NSW Police Commissioner apologises for decades of systematic failure

New South Wales Police Commissioner Karen Webb issued an apology to the families and victims of anti-gay and anti-trans hate crimes in the state over a 40 year period.

The apology from the head of the police force comes months after a damning report into unsolved gay and transgender hate crimes found the police had failed in their duty to professional investigate the crimes.

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The Special Commission headed by Supreme Court Justice John Sackar looked into a large number of crimes, some that had remained unsolved for over 40 years, and found that the police on multiple occasions classified murder cases as suicides and often failed to properly investigate the crimes.

Webb’s apology came the day after she attended a Sunrise Memorial for the victims of homophobic and transphobic hate crimes. At the event ACON President Justin Koonin said there had been systematic failures within the police force that had prevented justice from occurring for decades.

Koonin said an apology from the police would be welcomed but it needed to be accompanied by meaningful action.

In a statement released on Sunday Commissioner Webb formally recognised the findings of the inquiry and said police had failed to meet the standards expected of them by the community.

“I recognise that the investigation failings highlighted by the Special Commission of Inquiry (SCOI) report have resulted in enduring hurt for many. They do not represent the standards the community expect of us, and we expect of ourselves.

“To the victims and families that NSW Police failed by not adequately and fairly investigating those deaths between 1970 and 2010, I am sorry.” Commissioner Webb said.

“I apologise for the gaps in those investigative processes where records and exhibits were lost or not examined with enough rigour.

“I realise that this has meant missed opportunities to identify possible offenders as new leads emerged or as new forensic advances became available.

“And I acknowledge the increased suffering experienced by victims and their families where the crimes were motivated by bias against members of the LGBTIQ community.”

The leader of the NSW police said under her leadership the force would learn form their past mistakes.

“I assure the LGBTIQ community that under my leadership, NSW Police will use these lessons to continue to improve the way it serves all members of the community with respect, fairness, and inclusivity.

“The mistakes of the past will not define our future.” Commissioner Webb declared.

Later in the day the Commissioner released a second statement relating to the allegation that a serving police officer is responsible the deaths of missing Sydney couple Jesse Baird and Luke Davies.

OIP Staff


Do you need some support?

If you are struggling with anxiety or depression, support and counselling are available from:

QLife: 1800 184 527 / qlife.org.au (Webchat 3pm – midnight)
QLife are a counselling and referral service for LGBTQIA+ people.

DISCHARGEDinfo@discharged.asn.au / discharged.asn.au
Discharged is a trans-led support service with peer support groups for trans and gender diverse folks.

Lifeline: 13 11 14 / lifeline.org.au

Beyondblue: 1300 22 4636 / www.beyondblue.org.au


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