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Police Tactics

Be aware that police will routinely patrol parks and toilet blocks, so expect that you may be approached.

More information about negotiating positive experiences with officers can be found at Frequently Asked Questions

If you have experienced or witnessed police harassment or any questionable tactics, please report immediately after an incident and consider making a Complaint.

Police tactics that beat users have observed and experienced include:

* Police searching men for safe sex equipment (condoms and lube). We have received reports that police have been searching men for condoms and using it as evidence of intent to engage in public sex. You have the right to carry safe sex equipment – it is NOT against the law to carry condoms. This intimidating behaviour by police is dangerous and unconscionable, and we are extremely concerned that this may lead to an increase in unsafe behaviour and spread of STI’s and HIV. We strongly encourage beat users to practice safe consensual sex at all times.

* The ‘sneak and pounce’ on foot. Police officers have been observed sneaking into the park, hiding behind trees and then running towards men before turning on their torches. If you are approached by police, remember to remain calm and follow their directions.

* The ‘sneak and pounce’ in vehicles. Police vehicles have been observed sneaking into beats at night with the headlights turned off, then will speed up and hit the high beam before pouncing on beat users. This behaviour is dangerous as you may be run over, especially if you are walking along the paths and happen to be in their way.

* Derogatory personal comments, and threatening behaviour. We have received numerous reports of police intimidating and harassing men with negative and derogatory comments and threatening behaviour. This behaviour is clearly disrespectful and homophobic, and often they are trying to provoke a reaction against them which they can use as an excuse to arrest you – remember to stay calm.

* Regular patrols by several police vehicles on busy nights. Police have been observed speeding through parks in a dangerous manner to chase men, often in excess of the 10km/hr speed limit. Be aware that police may not stay on the paths when patrolling a park, and you may be danger if they do not see you.

* The ‘wedgie’. Police will often drive either side of you and wedge you between their vehicles on approach. This behaviour is designed to intimidate you, so remember to STAY CALM and DO NOT RUN.

* Covert patrols on foot, usually in pairs, but sometimes in groups of up to six. Uniformed police will walk through with their torches turned off, then flash the torch into your eyes at the last minute to disorientate you. They may also tell you, ‘we’re looking for someone that fits your description’ to detain and question you. Remain calm, ask them not to shine the light in your eyes, and follow their directions.

* Police chasing after men. Police love a good chase, so DO NOT RUN away from police as this will only provoke them to chase you. The police will approach you anyway, so find a quiet place to sit or calmly walk away if you see them.

* Council rangers ‘flushing’ men out for awaiting police. Police will sometimes use council rangers, or send a vehicle in to flush us out of the park in a blitz. Be aware that other police may be waiting around the corner or at the entrances. Remember, there’s no need to panic or run, you have the right to be in a public place at any time of the day.

* Entrapment. Police entrapment is against police policy. Entrapment occurs when the police encourage you to commit a crime you would not otherwise commit. We have observed plain-clothed police officers walking through beats pretending to be beat users and approaching men. They have also been observed hiding in the bushes. You have the right to tell the officer that you believe it is entrapment, but avoid any confrontation they may provoke as they’re likely to charge you with some other unrelated offence.

* Use of unnecessary force, threats to use pepper spray, arrest without charge. We are concerned by the numerous complaints of police using unnecessary heavy handed tactics against beat users. Remain calm, follow their directions, and avoid their provocation – don’t give the police any reason to be heavy handed with you, and report back to us immediately after the incident.

* Police not providing their names and station when requested. Police must tell you their names, and have been observed covering their badges and refusing to give their details. If they do not tell you, or cover their badge, make a note of the identifying letters and numbers on the side of the police vehicle if possible, which will help you identify police in your report.

* The wrongful use of ‘move-on’ notices. Further information here.

If you have experienced or witnessed any homophobic police tactics, please report it to us immediately so we can inform other beat users. We will also use it as evidence of police intimidation and harassment in a formal complaint.