We are pleased to publish the final report by Strike Force Parrabell, including an Academic Review conducted by Flinders University.
Firstly, I’d like to acknowledge the diligent work of all who contributed to the reports, both from within the NSW Police Force and Flinders University.
Both sets of findings comprise a review of 88 deaths between 1976 and 2000, each listed as potentially involving motivations of gay-hate bias. Both reviews focussed on whether gay-hate bias could be established, with a view to developing recommendations for improvements to policing.
Strike Force Parrabell was created with an overriding objective:
To bring the NSW Police Force and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and Queer community closer together by doing all that is possible from this point in history.
The NSW Police Force acknowledges without qualification both its and society’s acceptance of gay bashings and shocking violence directed towards gay men, and the LGBTIQ community between 1976 and 2000. The review of these 88 deaths by Strike Force Parrabell is not designed as commentary upon the level of violence directed towards the LGBTIQ community during these times.
It is clear and beyond question that levels of violence inflicted upon gay men in particular were elevated, extreme and often brutal. The victims of many crimes fell outside the scope of Strike Force Parrabell due to their survival. Many of these people were fortunate to live.
Based on societal values and attitudes at the time, I acknowledge the likelihood of historical bias, whether in small groups or more widespread across the organisation.
This, however, is absolutely not acceptable in the culture of a modern-day NSW Police Force and I can assure the community there are policies, procedures, and systematic checkpoints in place today that negate inaction due to bias.
On behalf of the NSW Police Force – I acknowledge an absolute requirement to never let history repeat.
With that in mind, the report includes a series of recommendations for the NSW Police Force, which strive for best practice, and aim to continually strengthen its relationship with the LGBTIQ community.
Historically, police and the LGBTIQ community had quite a tumultuous relationship, as demonstrated in 1978, but in recent times, we have progressed in leaps and bounds. We now enjoy a strong and inclusive relationship, but we know it can always be stronger and more inclusive, and I made many of the recommendations with that in mind.
Finally, I pay my respects to the 88 victims and their families, and acknowledge the compassion and strength of the LGBTIQ community for their perseverance in the fight for justice for all victims.
Assistant Commissioner Tony Crandell
NSW Police Force Corporate Sponsor for Sexuality, Gender Diversity, and Intersex