Strip searches and the boys in blue

What are these accusations of improper and demeaning strip searches all about?

It seems the police and officers from the Correctional Services and the Immi-gration Department are spending a lot of time strip searching (including removal of underwear) those in their custody: so much time, in fact, people are beginning to complain.

Yu Mun-wah, the Acting Assistant Commissioner of Police, is probably puzzled by it all. He says strip searches are usually performed only in suspicious cases involving possession of drugs, and a metal detector is used to search for con-cealed weapons.

So, why are these officers strip searching asylum seekers, domestic workers, social activists, and sex workers? A Sri Lankan asylum seeker claims he was strip searched sixty times in two months! Perhaps the officers involved thought he was a Colombian drug lord?

I think, however, there’s nothing sinister behind it; I think it’s something quite innocent.

In my view, the officers were probably just bored and wanted to inject a bit of gaiety into their dull routine. You know, just having a bit of fun, a bit of a laugh; nothing more. I certainly wouldn’t suggest they were strip searching people for sexual gratification – that would be an extremely serious allegation to make.

No, I think it’s just a case of “boys will be boys”. Sometimes, you give a man a blue uniform and it goes straight to his head.

Anyhow, seven asylum seekers have complained to the Ombudsman about the treatment they received, so the boys in blue will have to find some other way to get their jollies, won’t they?

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