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Policing public space: the experiences of people sleeping rough

Police-community relations Police power Homelessness Sydney

The experiences of participants in this study highlight the need to improve police practices and procedures to ensure that the human rights of people experiencing homelessness are respected and protected. The report calls on the NSW Police and other signatories to renew their commitment to the Protocol for Homeless People in Public Places. Legislative changes are also needed to create stronger safeguards regarding strip searches and the right for people experiencing homelessness to enjoy public space.

The people spoken to as part of this research disclosed high rates of police involvement in their lives, and highlighted concerns about:

  • Over‑policing
  • The improper use of stop and search powers
  • The improper use of move on orders
  • Verbal abuse and excessive use of force
  • The need for better training for police in responding to people presenting with mental health issues
  • Use of police discretion
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