NSW police under scrutiny at festivals following ‘humiliating’ strip search


Police have launched an internal review after a 19-year-old woman described her experience being strip-searched as "embarrassing and humiliating".

NSW police are facing criticism after a 19-year-old woman was strip searched at a music festival over the weekend.

An internal review of the incident has been launched after Lucy Moore posted on Facebook that she was stripped searched in view of male officers at the Sydney leg of Hidden Festival.

The Newcastle woman said that she initially passed "plenty of dogs" on her way into the festival, but when walking back toward the entrance she was stopped by an officer and told she had been detected by a sniffer dog.

"Despite me never seeing the dog react or sit," she wrote.

"I was taken away by another police officer and was told nothing of what was about to happen, I was never asked for my consent to be searched let alone my consent to be strip searched."

It was then that Ms Moore said she was stripped searched without adequate privacy.

"Not only this, a girl in the cubicle next to me was also searched with her door still open with a couple of cops entering and leaving at will," she wrote.

"During my search the door was left half open and only 'blocked' by the small female cop."

The woman claims officers were asking people to "squat and cough" - a request which is not lawful in NSW.

"Police at the Hidden Festival were still asking for us to do this," she said.

Ms Moore said she was held by police for an hour after they failed to find drugs and was subsequently banned after the ordeal.

"The reason the officer gave me was because they were 'under the assumption I was intoxicated'," she wrote.

"This war on music festivals has gone way too far as I know I wasn't the only one treated this unfairly."

NSW Police confirmed they are conducting an internal review of the incident.

In NSW, police have the power to search a person without a warrant if there is reasonable grounds that the person is in possession of anything unlawful.

The report comes as the NSW government is under fire for introducing a new licensing scheme at NSW music festivals following the recent deaths of five people from overdoses.

Gladys Berejiklian has said she does not support pill testing at music festivals.

Police presence at festivals

Meanwhile another music festival in Sydney at the weekend reported 68 police officers on site for 20,000 attendees - compared to 38 officers for the same event in Melbourne.

Most officers at the Download Festival at Parramatta Park remained at the entrance where they used sniffer dogs to detect drugs on punters entering the festival.

Zac Carter wasr searched by police but officers did not find any illicit substances.

"They told em to go into a little room, told me to take my hat off, my shoes and socks off and put my hands on my head," the 18-year-old said.

"I don't know my rights in that situation. I didn't feel scared, but I felt pressured, so I did as I was told."

"I don't know why they did it, I had nothing on me."

Festival organisers said the user pay bill for Sydney was $87,000 compared to $23,000 for Melbourne.

Both festivals had roughly the same number of attendees.

Jessica Ducrou – Download Promoter and Secret Sound Co CEO said the numbers are unwarranted.

"The numbers we have on site is ridiculous," she said.

"Particularly NSW are very heavy handed with user police."

"For the type of audience at this show and the police presence, it's completely unwarranted."