Latest News

Back to Latest News back


NSW Police watchdog say strip searches of teenagers at music festivals were ‘illegal’

NSW Police watchdog say strip searches of teenagers at music festivals were ‘illegal’
May 9, 2020

A NSW Police watchdog investigation into strip searches at events including Splendour in the Grass in 2018 and the Lost City Music Festival in 2019 has found that they were unlawful.

The searches including one in which a 16-year-old Aboriginal boy was physically forced to remove his shorts and squat and another were a 16-year-old girl had been "completely humiliated".

The NSW Law Enforcement Conduct Commission (LECC) yesterday released the findings of five separate investigations into seven strip searches conducted at both music festivals between March 2015 and January 2019.

In one of the investigations, the LECC that the search of the Aboriginal boy was unlawful and revealed wide-spread failures in the training of NSW Police.

The LECC found officers at both music festivals did not have sufficient knowledge of the rules for strip searching under the Law Enforcement Powers and Responsibilities Act (LEPRA).

In addition, it found that officers at the Lost City Music Festival were found to be lacking sufficient experience and training in strip searching.

The report advised “this investigation demonstrates that whatever educational methods are being utilised by the NSWPF to inform officers of their powers and responsibilities … they are not being universally applied in the practice of policing.”

Of the 11 officers at the Lost City Music Festival who gave evidence, only one had ever stripsearched a child before the festival.

And of the eight officers involved in the Lost City festival strip searches, none had received any training since graduating from the police academy.

The LECC also found the Splendour in the Grass organisers didn't provide sufficient space for privacy during strip searches or enough information to parents and caregivers about their right to be present during a strip search of a minor.

The LECC did not make any findings of misconduct against any of the officers involved.

Its final report on strip searching is due later this year.

Related Articles

17th January 2020 - NSW Police have major presence at Tamworth Country Music Festival 2020

4th January 2020 - Police pleased with behaviour at New Zealand’s New Year celebrations

11th December 2019 - NSW Government to introduce drug amnesty bins but no pill testing at music festivals

14th November 2019 - Live music industry welcomes amendments to NSW Music Festivals Bill

22nd October 2019 - NSW Government’s failure to consult sees festivals threaten to move interstate

16th October 2019 - NSW Government to ignore Coroner’s pill testing recommendation as it reintroduces festival management laws

27th September 2019 - NSW Upper House vote sees music festival regulations ditched

25th September 2019 - Live Performance Australia advises that collaboration is key to safer music festivals

28th August 2019 - Inquiry calls for scrapping of NSW festival licencing scheme

19th July 2019 - NSW music festival deaths inquiry told trauma of strip-searches similar to that of sexual assaults

6th March 2019 - NSW music festivals get recognition at Australian Tourism Awards

20th January 2019 - NSW Government to require licensing of music festivals after drug deaths

19th September 2018 - NSW Premier announces panel to look into drug issues at music festivals

8th August 2018 - NSW Police Commissioner launches new strategy to redivert disengaged youth

Asking a small favour
We hope that you value the news that we publish so while you're here can we ask for your support?

The news we publish at is independent, credible (we hope) and free for you to access, with no pay walls and no annoying pop-up ads.

However, as an independent publisher, can we ask for you to support us by subscribing to the printed Australasian Leisure Management magazine - if you don't already do so.

Published bi-monthly since 1997, the printed Australasian Leisure Management differs from this website in that it publishes longer, in-depth and analytical features covering aquatics, attractions, entertainment, events, fitness, parks, recreation, sport, tourism and venues management.

Subscriptions cost just $90 a year.

Click here to subscribe.


supplier directory

The Complete Guide to Leisure Industry Products & Services.

See the directory see all


Swimplex Aquatics are a world-class company dedicated to the commercial pool, waterslide industry. We are Australian market leaders servicing all states Australia wide. Swimplex provide a full…

read more

Aquatics / Attractions / Design / Play / Waterparks



revolutioniseSPORT is the emerging market leader in online club management in Australia. Whether it is memberships, registrations, events, online sales or governance tools - revolutioniseSPORT is the…

read more

Recreation / Sport / Technology


Worldwide Sports Management

Principal Consultant Simon Weatherill has spent the last 20 years developing the world renowned Melbourne Sports Hub, as former Chief Executive Officer of the State Sports Centres Trust…

read more

Aquatics / Consultants / Recreation / Sport / Venues



Geoff Ninnes Fong & Partners (GNFP) is a structural, aquatic and civil engineering consultancy with broad experience in the design of new municipal and institutional swimming pools, hydrotherapy…

read more

Aquatics / Consultants / Design / Venues


Enta Australasia

As of the 1st July 2018, Enta Australasia Pty Ltd/Best Union has been rebranded as VIVATICKET Pty Ltd.  Click here to view the VIVATICKET Pty Ltd listing.  19th July 2018 - ENTA…

read more

Technology / Ticketing / Venues



SLE Worldwide Australia is a Managing General Underwriter specialising in insuring risks in the world of Sports, Leisure and Entertainment. Be it relaxing, playing, organising or watching sports,…

read more

Insurance / Venues



At easyemployer we've come up with a software solution that manages one of your most important, and often most costly, business resources - your staff. We are helping 100s of clients to…

read more

Finance / Fitness / Technology


BioLab Australia Pty Ltd

BioGuard is Australia and New Zealand’s most trusted supplier of premium, innovative and affordable commercial water treatment systems and chemicals. BioGuard offers a comprehensive range of…

read more

Aquatics / Technology / Waterparks


get listed with our suppliers directory

Get your business noticed in our targeted directory. Viewed by 10,000 industry professionals per week!

list your business