NSW Police Force uses the definition of disability as described by the NSW Disability Services Act 1993 and the Commonwealth Disability Discrimination Act 1992. NSW Police Officers do not diagnose, nor screen persons for disabilities but are guided by key indicators or descriptors or a statement from the person or their carer as to the nature of the disability.
People with disabilities are classified as ‘vulnerable persons’ under the Law Enforcement Powers and Responsibilities Regulation 2005. When a disability is established or strongly suggested, the vulnerable person should have the right to a support person when being interviewed by the police. This is the case whether the person is a witness, victim or alleged offender. This may involve the use of a carer, case worker, legal representative, guardian or AUSLAN interpreter.
Support for people with an Intellectual Disability can be arranged through the Criminal Justice Support Network. The Criminal Justice Support Network (CJSN) is a service of the Intellectual Disability Rights Service that provides volunteer support workers for people with an intellectual disability who are in contact with the criminal justice system. The CJSN is a 24 hour State-wide service who can be contacted through the Intellectual Disability Rights Service on 9318 0144. They also offer a toll free service on 1300 665 908.
Each Local Area Command should have a Customer Service Duty Officer. Local issues regarding people with disabilities and the police can be pursued through that officer. Contact details linking your residential suburb and the local police station can be found on the home page of this website.
While State and Federal legislation directs all government agencies to make allowances for people with a disability, it doesn’t mean that police will regard the person and the circumstances any differently to any other situation, interview or investigation.