NSW Police has confirmed it will be launching a major operation in Sydney’s south-west, upping the cop presence in the area to “ensure compliance with the public health order”, which apparently includes questioning people on why they’re outside of their homes.
The announcement comes as New South Wales recorded 38 new local cases today, with only 17 of those in isolation during their infectious period.
Assistant Commissioner Tony Cooke confirmed there will be over 100 police officers entering the south-west Sydney area, including mounted police and traffic patrols.
The operation, which kicks off from 7am on Friday morning, will involve police officers approaching residents and questioning them on their “reasonable excuse” for being outside during the stay-at-home orders, excuses which have been relatively vague for the duration of the Greater Sydney Lockdown.
Cops are going to question people out and about in southwest Sydney to determine if they have a reasonable excuse to leave the house.
I wonder how they'll interpret "Obtaining food or other goods or services for the personal needs of the household or other household purposes" pic.twitter.com/OCZGmSuUCL
— casey briggs (@CaseyBriggs) July 8, 2021
When questioned on what constitutes a “reasonable excuse” in the eyes of the patrolling police (and whether going to “look at shoes” is a justifiable excuse), Assistant Commissioner Cooke said people need to be asking themselves if they really need to be out.
“They need a reasonable excuse to be out there,” he said.
“People need to ask themselves the question, ‘Do I need to do it?’ And quite often, the answer can be no.”
Considering there is no published list of what is and isn’t essential items under the public health order for Greater Sydney, it’ll be interesting to see how exactly police will be able to determine who is flouting the lockdown and who isn’t.
NSW Police’s big announcement this afternoon has copped a fair amount of flack on social media, with many people asking why this kind of heavy-handed approach hasn’t also been applied to other suburbs and areas where large outbreaks have occurred – like the eastern suburbs.
100 NSW police officers will be in S-W Sydney tomorrow to ensure Covid compliance, but where were they when Covid hit Bondi..
This is just all ways of fvcked up!!
— Narty501✳✳ (@Narty0071) July 8, 2021
So predictable that the virus starts yet again in NSW in wealthy beachside suburbs, and then two weeks later it’s “ethnic communities in the west”???? and “police will be enforcing”
— Maxine Beneba Clarke (@slamup) July 7, 2021
The NSW Government has today announced that they will send 100 mounted police officers to the western suburbs of Sydney to enforce the lockdown restrictions. This isn’t a public health response, it’s explicitly targeting people of colour and working class communities in the west
— Democracy in Colour (@democracycolour) July 8, 2021
Although "Covid compliance is the same across metropolitan Sydney" the NSW Govt is sending more than 100 police officers into South West Sydney. There is absolutely NO logic for the direct targeting of Sydney's black and brown communities.
— David Shoebridge (@ShoebridgeMLC) July 8, 2021
And as for how long this upped NSW police presence in south-west Sydney will last, Cooke said authorities will be active in the area “until the health advice is that we no longer need to.”