Suspect Target Management Plan used on young people was agency maladministration - Greens call for redress


The Law Enforcement Conduct Commission (LECC) has released its final report into the use of the NSW Police Force Suspect Targeting Management Plan (STMP) on children and young people - a draft of the report presented to NSW Police in May has resulted in termination of the use of the program on people under 18. The LECC’s five year investigation into the application of the STMP to young people provides a damning picture of the program, saying that the program has met the threshold for agency maladministration. The LECC described the practice as “unreasonable, unjust, oppressive or improperly discriminatory in its effect.”

The report details the following observations:

  • gross over-representation of young Aboriginal people selected for STMP targeting

  • overuse of overt and intrusive policing tactics applied by the NSW Police Force resulting in unreasonable surveillance and monitoring of young people

  • patterns of interactions showing the NSW Police Force have used a young person’s STMP status as a basis for ongoing and repeated stops, searches, or visits to the young person’s home, rather than relying on legislative, or court-ordered frameworks. Sometimes it was found that these actions were positively unlawful.

  • unacceptable risks of bias in the target identification process

  • no rigorous evidence-based evaluations to assess the success, or otherwise, of the use of the STMP on an individual

  • inadequate record keeping that prevented police from undertaking an overall assessment of utility and ongoing critical analysis.

Greens MP and spokesperson for justice said: “The NSW Police’s adoption of Suspect Target Management Plans was always of grave concern. It resulted in racial targeting by police, the undermining of rehabilitative opportunities for individuals and has had a disproportionate impact on young people of colour. The fact that this was ever used on people under 18 is abhorrent and it is a welcome decision for this program to be ceased for young people.

“Legal experts have called for the program to be discontinued since it was established in 2002 - for more than two decades the program has empowered NSW Police to over-police First Nations people and people from diverse communities. The trauma this program has inflicted on people and communities has been immense - these people should now have the opportunity to seek redress from the NSW Police. There are people who have had their entire lives derailed because of police actions under this program and the NSW Police must start to repair this.

“This program should never have been used on children and should not be continued to be used on anyone. It is now incumbent on the State to redress the wrongs this program has inflicted on young people and their families as a result of the operation of the program. The impacts on all people should now also be subjected to the same scrutiny and the program abandoned in its entirety.” Ms Higginson said.

For media contact Sue Higginson: 0421 926 233