Queensland police deny Indigenous boy kept naked in watch-house for days

Queensland police have denied a boy was held naked for days inside Brisbane's maximum security watch-house.

The statistics are shocking and have been described as a national emergency. On any given night last year, there were about 500 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in detention - dramatically out of proportion with the actual Indigenous population in Australia. Human rights group Amnesty International says racism is keeping Indigenous children locked up. NITV News Political reporter Myles Morgan explains.

Queensland police have denied that an intellectually impaired indigenous boy was held naked for days inside a Brisbane watch-house.

The ABC says it has documents that reveal the boy was pinned down and stripped by officers at the facility in March.

He had only a blanket to cover himself after he refused to wear a 'suicide smock' - a dress-like garment.

The report has outraged disability advocates and prompted an investigation. 

A corrections officer walks down a cell corridor. (Stock Image)
Source: AAP

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk told reporters she wasn't comfortable with hearing the allegation.

"I've asked for an investigation into that," she said.

"My understanding is that there's more to that story - so I might leave that for others to comment."

The premier's acting director-general, Rachel Hunter, is investigating the boy's case along with those of other children she has been looking into for months.

That probe will be ongoing as more cases arise but does not have terms of reference.

However, Queensland police say the boy was not naked.

They say he was identified as a risk and provided with a suicide protection garment - as is standard QPS custodial practice.

Inquiries indicate the juvenile was not naked and remained clothed throughout, they said on Tuesday.

He chose to wear the garment as a sarong for a period of time instead of in the traditional way.

Police have been asked if the boy had any other clothing on while he wearing the garment as a sarong.

The Queensland government has been criticised over the holding of children as young as 10 in maximum security watch houses built for adults.

Some have been held for weeks at a time because state youth detention facilities are full.

A new Department of Youth Justice to be led by former deputy police commissioner Bob Gee has been set up to address the issue.

The government last week introduced laws requiring authorities to bring arrested and detained young people before the Children's Court within 24 hours or on the next available day.


Share
Published 18 June 2019 at 8:28am, updated 18 June 2019 at 2:37pm