NSW Police Force the focus of second hearing into LGBTQI hate crimes

Dec 1, 2022

The work of the New South Wales Police Force will be a key focus of the next hearing of the Special Commission of Inquiry into LGBTIQ hate crimes, which commences on Monday 5 December 2022.

This hearing will be directed to various aspects of Strike Force Parrabell, a review by police into 88 deaths between 1976 and 2000, which may have been LGBTIQ hate crimes. It will also look at the ways in which the NSW Police have approached the issues relating to “bias crime” or “hate crime” from 1970 to the present.

This hearing will be conducted in two stages. The first stage will commence at 10am on 5 December 2022, at the Chief Secretary’s Building, Level 2, 121 Macquarie Street, Sydney. The second stage will take place on dates to be fixed in February 2023.

The hearing is open to the public and will be live streamed via the Inquiry’s website.

It is expected that the public hearing will include evidence relating to:

  1. Strike Force Parrabell and its Final Report, including the methodologies used by the Parrabell police officers and the Flinders University academic review team;
  2. Two other investigations conducted by NSW Police into possible homicides against LGBTIQ people, Strike Force Neiwand and Strike Force Macnamir, including the reasons for their establishment; and
  3. Changes in the approach of the NSW Police to the identification, investigation and recording of suspected “hate” or “bias” crimes, including the relevant history of the Bias Crime Unit (as variously named and configured over the years).

The Inquiry will hear from senior NSW Police officers involved in these matters, as well as the academics who reviewed the results of the Strike Force Parrabell police officers.

It is anticipated that the following witnesses will be called to give oral evidence in the December hearing:

  • Assistant Commissioner Anthony Crandell – Commander of Strike Force Parrabell and the former NSW Police Force Corporate Sponsor for Sexuality, Gender Diversity and Intersex.
  • Shobha Sharma – Manager, Policy and Programs Team, Crime Prevention Command.
  • Sergeant Geoffrey Steer – former Bias/Hate Crime Co-ordinator, Bias Crime Unit.
  • Sergeant Ismail Kirgiz – current Hate Crime Co-ordinator, Engagement and Hate Crime Unit.

Please note that the witness list is subject to change and additional witnesses may be added in due course.

It is anticipated that the witnesses at the second stage of this hearing, in February 2023, will include Detective Sergeant Steve Morgan, Investigation Supervisor for Strike Force Neiwand, and Professors Derek Dalton and Willem de Lint, members of the Flinders University academic review team for Strike Force Parrabell.

The Honourable Justice John Sackar will preside at the hearing. Counsel Assisting the Inquiry will be Peter Gray SC, Claire Palmer and Meg O’Brien.

Journalists wishing to cover the hearing should notify the Inquiry’s media team to ensure access to the media room and/or relevant information including schedules and transcripts.

Seeking support

Our Counselling and Support team provides help to people who are participating in, or impacted by, the Inquiry public hearings.  We can support you before, during and after engaging with the Inquiry. 

To contact the Counselling and Support team:

  • email [email protected]
  • telephone 0499 869 779, 9:00am to 5:00pm AEST Monday to Friday, excluding public holidays
  • SMS 0499 869 779 – text only

The following services also provide counselling for LGBTIQ community members who have experienced violence, as well as friends and loved ones:

Ph: (02) 9206 2000
acon.org.au/mentalhealth (external link)

Ph: 1800 184 527
qlife.org.au (external link)

Ph: 13 14 11
lifeline.org.au (external link)  

Media seeking further information can visit the Special Commission website or contact the Special Commission Senior Media Adviser at [email protected].