Calls for independent review of police weapons after murder of Sydney couple

Calls for independent review of police weapons after murder of Sydney couple
Image: Rose Marinelli, Shutterstock

As the queer community mourns the deaths of Jesse Baird and Luke Davies, calls are mounting for an urgent independent review into the relationship between policing and use of weapons.

The alleged murderer, Senior Constable Beau Lamarre-Condon, who was attached to the youth command, reportedly used a police firearm to shoot the victims.

The NSW Council for Civil Liberties (NSWCCL) has proposed that general duties officers no longer carry firearms, saying “Policing should be about harm minimisation not causing harm to others.”

Lamarre-Condon allegedly checked out a gun for a period of three days whilst on recurrent leave and sick-leave.

The tragic murder of the gay couple has shone a light on the “damaged relationship” between police and the queer community, according to Josh Pallas, Immediate Past President of NSWCCL.

“While this conversation may have been instigated by tragic murders and unanswered questions from Police, it’s part of a much longer conversation about policing and the queer community,” he said.

The council has also expressed solidarity with Redfern Legal Centre and Sue Higginson MLC in calling for an independent inquiry into police use of force.

“The inquiry needs to be independent”

It isn’t good enough, Mr Pallas says, that the Victorian Police will assist in a review of NSW weapons policies, recently announced by the Police Commissioner.

“The inquiry needs to be independent of both the NSW government and any Police Force,” he said. “The practice of police investigating police must also end. For as long as that practice continues the public’s confidence in NSW Police will be diminished.”

President of NSWCCL Lydia Shelly wrote to police and police minister, Yasmin Catley, calling for an inquiry into the broader issues surrounding the murders.

“NSWCCL … urges that the government call for an immediate independent inquiry into police use of force and access to weapons,” Shelly wrote in the letter.

“We cannot understand why general duties Police Officers are able to gain access to lethal weapons.”

Police commissioner Karen Webb conceded on Monday that the review would focus on how police stored and allowed access to firearms.

Ms Higginson asserted that “urgent structural and cultural reform is needed within the NSW Police Force” and that “police have no business investigating police.”

“The current excessive force policing model and impunity of officers backed in by a self serving system of investigation and accountability is a culture that allows police officers such as Mr Lamare-Condon to maintain access to deadly weapons and it must change,” she continued.


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