The ‘Independent’ Police Conduct Authority’s report into the policing of student protests in 2012 is a whitewash
The report released by the Independent Police Conduct Authority into the policing of student protests in 2012 is a whitewash riddled with inaccuracies.
The report, released today, has taken over 2 years for the Authority to complete and release, which raises serious questions about the competency of the IPCA.
The IPCA has shown itself to be incredibly reluctant to criticise police behaviour, despite finding the police breached numerous protocols, and it largely relies on police testimony in justifying police behavious.
The report also fails to adequately address rights to protest under the Bill of Rights and fails to define the limits of what is “reasonable” in terms of the use of force against demonstrators.
The report fails to criticise the use of “open palm strikes” and the “mastoid thumb pressure control technique” which involves “exerting pain by applying pressure with the knuckle of the fingers to the cavity in the head between the mastoid process and the jawbone”, and accepts de facto the police’s use of these techniques against demonstrators.
The report claims, based on police testimony, that students were allowed to march on the street and the first arrests did not occur until students sat down on the road and were told by police to move.
However video evidence provided to the IPCA in 2012 shows police telling protestors they would be allowed to march on the street.
The video evidence goes on to show that the first arrest was made before the protest march had begun, when police arrested a demonstrator who was attempting to lead the march on to the street.
The report also claims, in justifying the presence of 50 police officers, that approximately 300 students were part of the march, however the protest was in reality made up of approximately 100 students.
The false claim by police is used in the IPCA’s report to justify the heavy presence of police.
The IPCA has taken police claims at face value despite video evidence to the contrary, calling into question its independence and competency.
The report raises significant issues around the competency of the IPCA, through numerous inaccuracies and its failure to adequately address people’s right to protest.
As anyone who witnessed the protest will have clearly seen, despite what Judge Carruthers of the IPCA has been told by his mates in the police force, the police response was an unreasonable, violent, and disproportionate example of the suppression of dissent in this country.
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