ACON: NSW Police apology is first step


nsw police apology comissioner webb acon

ACON has responded to this morning’s NSW Police apology, describing Commissioner Karen Webb’s statement as a first step.

Commissioner Webb apologised for the NSW Police’s handling of gay hate crimes over a period of 40 years. Her statement followed criticism of the NSW Police in the findings of the Special Inquiry into Hate Crimes released in December.

Dr Justin Koonin

ACON President Dr Justin Koonin said the organisation welcomed the NSW Police apology.

“The statement recognises the suffering experienced by victims and their families and acknowledges that opportunities were missed to identify possible offenders as new leads emerged or as new forensic advances became available.”

Dr Koonin described the apology as a first step towards healing the past. He said it must now be followed by a clear roadmap. NSW Police need to both address historical wrongs and improve policing practice into the future.

“These large-scale, systemic failures within the NSW police system have prevented justice for decades. These systemic failures are not relics of a bygone era but have continued up until the present day.

Dr Koonin demanded a full implementation of the recommendations of the Special Commission of Inquiry into LGBTQI hate crimes.

“What our community needs to see now is action.”

Nicolas Parkhill

ACON CEO Nicolas Parkhill described NSW police actions over the last 40 years as ‘deeply hurtful’.

“Despite numerous public inquiries and coronial inquests, NSW Police established internal processes such as Strike Force Neiwand, in attempts to undo established findings of foul play and to pursue theories of suicide or misadventure, rather than murder.

“And it is deeply hurtful to know that, in the conduct of the Special Commission of Inquiry itself, police had, in the words of Commissioner Sackar, behaved in a way which was ‘adversarial or unnecessarily defensive’, and had stated that that the inquiry’s requests ‘distracted police from police work that they would otherwise be undertaking’.

“This apology must be accompanied by meaningful action delivered in partnership with our communities, as well as widespread cultural change and leadership within the NSW Police Force.

“The capacity and commitment to get it right won’t come easily, but in the spirit of reconciliation, we are willing partners to assist the NSW Police Force in redressing the wrongs of the past.”

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Destiny Rogers

Destiny Rogers embarked on her career in the media industry immediately after high school, initially joining Mirror News, which later evolved into News Ltd. She fondly recalls editing Ian Byford's 'Passing Glances: A History of Gay Cairns' as one of her most fulfilling projects. Additionally, Destiny co-researched and co-wrote 'The Queen's Ball', chronicling the history of the world's longest-running continuous queer event. Her investigative work on the history of Australia's COON Cheese and Edward Coon culminated in the publication 'COON: More Holes than Swiss Cheese', a collaborative effort with Dr. Stephen Hagan. Destiny's journey at QNews began as a feature writer, and she was subsequently elevated to the role of Managing Editor of QNews Magazine in 2018. However, in July 2022, she decided to resign from this role to refocus on research and feature writing. For contact, please reach out at destinyr@qnews.com.au.

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