Australia

MP wants NSW 'racist' cops punished

NSW Greens MP Jenny Leong has lodged a complaint with the Human Rights Commission accusing NSW Police of racial hatred over comments made on Facebook.

A NSW Greens MP is hauling the state's police force before the Human Rights Commission over "racist" comments allegedly posted on Facebook by some of its officers.

In March 2016, officers from Sydney police commands were reported to have made derogatory comments about the Newtown MP following a post she made on her public Facebook page criticising the use of drug sniffer dogs.

The comments allegedly mocked Jenny Leong's ethnic background, including posts such as "Nawww tank u hunny...2 dolla sucky sucky lub u long time" and labelling a relative a "swamp monkey".

Ms Leong reported the matter to the former Police Integrity Commission and following a finding that there was no reasonable prospect of conviction, it was referred back to the NSW Police Force last year for an internal review into a reported ten officers.

More than two years after the initial complaint, Ms Leong told AAP she still doesn't know what action was taken against the officers involved.

While Ms Leong received a letter of apology from the commander of two officers involved, she said no specifics have been provided to her about the outcome of the investigation and a freedom of information request into the matter came back heavily redacted.

"So at this point, in an attempt to find out what happened, I feel like I need some assurance and I believe the public needs some assurance that when NSW Police officers act in an offensive and racist manner they need to be held to account and maybe they have been, maybe they haven't been but certainly none of that is clear," Ms Leong said.

The MP has now lodged a complaint with the Human Rights Commission including allegations that the comments amount to racial hatred under Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act.

As part of the complaint, Ms Leong is seeking a commitment by NSW Police to provide cultural and racial awareness training to all staff, an apology, compensation and a public statement acknowledging that officers engaged in unlawful and offensive behaviour.

Ms Leong's lawyer Giri Sivaraman said the commission would progress part of the complaint regarding the main Facebook post and comments made by an individual.

Few details have been provided about what was being done by NSW Police to address concerns about racist and offensive behaviour within the force, Mr Sivaraman said.

"For Jenny, this has never been about seeking retribution against individuals but about seeking to ensure that NSW Police take responsibility for what has occurred and that they act to make clear that such actions by members of their organisation will not be tolerated," he said in a statement.

A NSW Police spokeswoman said the NSWPF was not in a position to comment as the matter was now subject to legal proceedings.

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