Aboriginal Legal Service of Western Australia Limited

John Bedford, calls for Stop and Search Bill to be withdrawn

MEDIA STATEMENT BY THE ABORIGINAL LEGAL SERVICE OF WA, 5 February 2010

MEDIA STATEMENT BY THE ABORIGINAL LEGAL SERVICE OF WA, 5 February 2010

johnbedfordWA’s proposed stop and search laws will only lead to an increase in vulnerable people being targeted by police, according to the Aboriginal Legal Service of WA (ALSWA).

ALSWA Executive Officer and Acting CEO John Bedford said that ALSWA was concerned that a further increase in police powers will see our most disadvantaged targeted. “*Aboriginal people in this state are already over-policed and over-represented within the court and prison systems, and it is our people who will feel the impact” said Mr. Bedford.

ALSWA welcomes the concerns of others who have also spoken out against the laws including the Equal Opportunity Commission, the Law Society, and former Superintendants Parkinson and Watson.

In its submission to the Criminal Investigation Amendment Bill 2009 (Stop and Search Laws) Inquiry, ALSWA said ‘the proposed laws will disproportionately impact on vulnerable groups and constitute serious violations of Australia’s obligations under international human rights law’.

ALSWA is also concerned about the impact that stop and search could have on those who feel aggrieved at being singled out and searched by police for no reason. “These powers could lead to people feeling unfairly victimised and reacting in such a way that leads to a potentially volatile and escalating situation.  When one considers this scenario in conjunction with the new mandatory sentencing laws for ‘assaults on public officers causing injury’, further human rights could be impinged upon and over-representation within prisons further exacerbated” said Mr. Bedford.

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Perth WA 6000
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Phone: +61 8 9265 6666
Fax: +61 8 9221 1767
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ALSWA provides legal advice and representation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in WA in Criminal, Family, Civil and Human Rights Law with additional services in community legal education, advocacy and the protection and promotion of human rights .

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