Thursday, March 04, 2010

Mardi Gras - Searches at Carnival

The Mardi Gras Parade was good fun on Saturday night. It is just a pity that the Carnival party afterwards wasn't.

I am not sure who decided not to open the gates until after 10pm (the first people who arrived off the parade must have been there by 9pm)

What was even more appalling was the patdown searches by ISEC Security on entry. Everyone was forced to have a pat down search.

When I questioned one of the security guards under which NSW Statue they were undertaking the search I was told "I am doing as I am told". The male security guard at least looked embarrased.

What was worrying is these patdowns were been done regardless of gender i.e. Male security guards were patting down women, etc.

Even more disturbing is that in reading online after the event is what I thought was the case Security Guards have no power of search as copied below the legal aid website.

  • Security guards
    Security guards have no more extra powers than ordinary citizens. They have no power to search or question you.

    A security guard cannot:

  • search you unless you agree (even when it is a condition of entry to a shop, etc);

  • arrest you unless they see you commit a crime;

  • detain you unless they see you commit a crime;

  • force you to sign anything;

  • force you to go anywhere unless they are detaining you until police arrive;

  • force you to be photographed; or

  • use excessive force.

    In some places, especially shopping centres, a security guard might ban you from coming in. They do this by giving you a "Termination of Licence" notice. If you get one of these notices it means you can be charged with trespassing the next time you go there.

    Usually, you would be asked to sign it. You cannot be forced to sign it. You should get legal advice.

  • I have emailed I-Sec Security but to date have only an email acknowledgement that says they will respond.

    I asked them two questions:

    a) Who authorised the mass search on Saturday night

    b) Under what law is this type of search authorised.

    I will update as I get a response.

    If not then I will contact Mardi Gras - which worrying have warnings about pat downs (they don't call them search which is what they are) on the Mardi Gras website.

    Don’t be afraid – policies have been developed to ensure patrons’ confidentiality. Security personnel are there to make Mardi Gras events fun and safe for everyone.
    Your co-operation will lead to a quick entrance to the party so have your belongings ready, you may encounter pat-downs and bag searches.

    I am still appalled at this mass pat down of patrons - it is an extremely worrying trend - ironically at other Mardi Gras events at venues such as the Opera House - where the same patrons would be present - no one was searched not even bags!

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