Since 1996 the police’s role in regulating the sex industry in NSW has fallen. Because sex work is no longer a criminal offence, the police cannot arrest someone for being a sex worker. The police force also no longer has the power to shut down a business simply because it is providing a sexual service.
The NSW Police Force may enforce laws about:
soliciting, sex work and ‘indecent’ stripping on licensed premises (rarely enforced).
Police sex worker liaison officers have been established in some police stations to help sex workers in their dealings with the police. Sometimes they have a conflict between the roles of protection and law enforcement, but ideally they are cooperative and aware of sex worker issues. They can help you with:
any other business you may have with the police.
If the police approach you about a matter:
NOTE: Undercover police officers do not have to identify themselves if asked directly by a sex worker.
The police are not the regulators of the sex industry, so they have no part to play in whether premises have development consent from council. That is the council’s job.
It is illegal for police to act in a corrupt or threatening manner. You can report any police officer acting in an improper manner to the local Superintendent, the Ombudsman’s Office or the Police Customer Assistance Unit.
SWOP can provide advice in these matters.
Legal Aid lawyers may offer free advice or represent you in court if you are eligible for legal aid.
SWOP can refer you to community legal centres and lawyers who are familiar with the industry.