Last year’s Mardi Gras was marred by accusations of police brutality toward Jamie Jackson Reed and Bryn Hutchinson, along with complaints about sniffer dogs at the after party.
Surry Hills LAC Police Superintendent Tony Crandell was the Forward Commander of the 2013 parade route and was also in charge of the sniffer dog operation.
“[My role is] exactly the same again, as I need to fix some things from last year,” Mr Crandell told City Hub.
“I’m responsible for every piece of policing that occurs in this LAC, that’s the reason I’m saying that I should be centrally involved and my police should be centrally involved.”
Mr Crandell said community consultative committee meetings have been held with all the LGBTI community groups and if this strategy is effective it will become a statewide initiative.
“Basically the overall charter for the committee is to find out what the policing issues are within the different communities,” he said.
“What they want in terms of policing services and how we can better address their needs from a policing perspective.”
Mr Crandell said this year there would be greater access to Oxford Street, as one of the major issues last year was that police had blocked off access.
“Another difference will be that there will be local police officers policing the crowd. My police officers understand the culture of LGBTI, they police it every day,” he said.
Mr Crandell wanted to make it clear that police are not going to be a soft touch and there will be a drug dog operation at the after party.
“If people aren’t going to play nicely and are going to engage in violence, whether that’s to people or property, they can expect to be dealt with,” he said.
“The community can expect to see sniffer dogs out there. There will also be CCTV cameras erected in Driver Ave towards the entrance of the Hordern Pavilion.”
Independent MP for Sydney Alex Greenwich said the efforts that have been made since last year’s Mardi Gras demonstrate that the LGBTI community will never again accept abuse and discrimination.
“I congratulate Superintendent Crandell for taking seriously the community concerns about policing at last year’s Mardi Gras and working hard with LGBTI community leaders to make real changes,” he said.
Dan Stubbs, director of the Inner City Legal Centre, said Mr Crandell has been a great champion of Mardi Gras and LGBTI rights.