Knockout Music Festival: Raver claims cops forced her to submit to illegal strip search at troubled hardstyle event
A gym instructor claims she was subjected to a “disgusting” and “illegal” strip search by NSW police during Sydney’s ill-fated Knockout music festival.
Brooke Hayden, 27, claims police officers touched her body, including her breasts and between her legs, after she was asked to undress in a police area at the Sydney Showground on Saturday.
The Parramatta woman, who insisted she was not carrying any drugs, posted on social media that she refused to stay silent about the “horrible” experience.
Two men who attended the hardstyle music festival have died from suspected drug overdoses. One was 26 years old and the other 21 years old.
Brooke Hayden, 27, claims police officers touched her body, including her breasts and between her legs, after she was asked to undress in a police area at the Sydney Showground.
Two people are believed to have died from a suspected drug overdose at the Knockout hardstyle music festival attended by more than 53,000 people.
Twenty-seven were charged with possession of illegal drugs, while four were charged with supplying a prohibited drug. Pictured: Police and a sniffer dog on patrol at the Splendor in the Grass festival in July
READ MORE: Eshay accused of supplying drugs at festival
A young Eshay man has been charged with supplying the drugs that allegedly killed a 21-year-old bystander after police moved to arrest the suspected dealer at Sydney Airport.
Out of a crowd of 53,000, 27 were charged with possession of illegal drugs, while two men and two women were charged with supplying a banned drug.
Ms Hayden said news.com.au she was forced to squat and cough and asked questions while she was undressed – which is illegal.
She was spotted by a police officer who claimed a sniffer dog had detected an illicit substance on her.
She was “searched” by the same police officer before two other male officers overpowered her and searched her bag. They found nothing.
She was then asked to agree to a strip search by two female police officers, which she did.
One of the officers touched her body, including her breasts. A second, wearing gloves, slid his hand up Ms Hayden’s leg and between her legs.
“When her hand slid up, it was like a really quick swipe, just the tip of a finger, but she didn’t put her fingers up there.
“It was honestly disgusting to have someone’s hands all over me.”
Although strip searches are legal, police are only allowed to touch the body of a clothed person or “visually search” someone who has removed their clothing.
Ms Hayden said she was made to squat and cough and was asked questions while she was undressed – which is illegal.
“Police may visually search genitals or breasts if they suspect, on reasonable grounds, that this is necessary for the purposes of the search,” according to a fact sheet published by Redfern Legal Central.
“The police are not allowed to search any cavities in your body, except your mouth. »
They are also not allowed to ask questions during a strip search.
Ms Hayden said she was so traumatized by the experience that she would not attend a music festival again until the laws changed.
She wants officers and dogs to stop “harassing” people and she also believes pill testing should be available at festivals to determine if recreational drugs are safe.
A 2019 report from the University of New South Wales found that strip searches are usually carried out to look for illegal drugs, but most of the time they find nothing illegal.
This year, the results of an independent investigation found that police failed to follow the law in the majority of strip searches.
Ms. Hayden no longer wants to attend any more music festivals because she feels harassed
They respected rules relating to privacy and dignity in only 27 percent of cases.
This year, the Greens released information showing that the success rate of drug detection by police sniffer dogs was just 25 percent over the past decade.
New South Wales Police said Daily Mail Australia officers carrying out searches “must have the state of mind” required by the Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Act (LEPRA).
“The legislation contains safeguards to preserve the privacy and dignity of members of the public.
“If a person wishes to make a complaint against the NSW Police or its employees, it can be made in writing to the Commissioner of Police or the Law Enforcement Conduct Commission (LECC).”
LAWS FOR POLICE SEARCHES IN NSW
When carrying out a strip search, the police must:
- preserve your privacy and dignity as much as possible
- tell you the reason for the search
- tell you if you will have to undress
- asks for your cooperation
- can’t question you while they search you
- carry out the search in a private space (to the extent reasonably possible in the circumstances)
- do the research as quickly as possible
- make sure the police officer conducting the search is of the same gender as you
- do not search where anyone of the opposite sex can see
- carry out the search only in the presence or view of a person who must be present for the purpose of the search
- agree to allow you to have a parent or guardian present if practical
Source: Redfern Law Center