After refusing to brief the Labor Opposition on serious allegations of police strip searching a teenage girl and placing her in an adult prison cell, Police Minister Mark Shelton must not allow the matter to be swept under the carpet.
Shadow Police Minister Jen Butler said Mr Shelton must guarantee the incident will be immediately and thoroughly investigated and not be allowed to slip through the net as part of the Gutwein Government’s ongoing devotion to secrecy at all costs.
“These are extremely disturbing allegations about an incident that has no place in a modern and progressive Tasmania,” Ms Butler said.
“No young Tasmanian should have to suffer the indignity and humiliation of such an incident and all Tasmanians should be horrified at these allegations.
“It undermines the good work of all other police officers.
“But Mr Shelton’s attitude – in refusing to provide a briefing and refusing to discuss this matter – speaks volumes about the Liberal Government’s attitude to every piece of difficult news that comes across its desk.
“That attitude is to automatically shut down, cover up, hide the truth and hope nobody is watching.
“Tasmanians are watching this case very carefully so they can understand how it was allowed to happen.
“For that to take place, Mr Shelton has to reassure Tasmanians that he will do the right thing and stage an immediate investigation which focuses on getting to the truth and ultimately preventing matters like this from ever taking place again.
“This Minister must also give immediate and serious consideration to the calls from the Children’s Commissioner for an end to the practice of strip searching of youths.
“He needs also to take into account the recommendations from the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, which clearly state juveniles are not to be detained in police lock-ups unless their circumstances are exceptional.
“Mr Shelton needs to make a public statement to this effect today so everyone can be assured he is treating this matter with the urgency it requires.”
Jen Butler MP
Shadow Minister for Police