Time to Curb Police Power in Sydney? Excessive Force Used in Club Raid

Over the weekend 15 police officers raided the Sydney venue, Club 77, a longstanding club on William Street in the Kings Cross district.

Candy’s Apartment Raid, 2016. Image Credit: Daily Mail

Information about the raid was shared over Facebook by Matty Bicket, who manages the establishment. In a post that was shared over 3000 times before it was removed, Bicket detailed the raid. He explained that 15 police, accompanied by sniffer dogs, entered the venue where they proceeded to search publicly partygoers in an inappropriate manner.

The police then refused the headlining act from Melbourne access to the club for what appeared to be no explicit reason. The police later returned acting as RSA marshals for the club, deeming who could and could not enter the venue.

Matty Bicket said of the events, “The result of this? A bad taste in my mouth for over the top policing, a loss of income and a pissed off promoter. I’m running a fucking business, I pay tax and I work extremely hard to hold on to what we have here to keep a culture, I don’t deserve to be bullied and treated like a fucking criminal. I don’t know any other type of business or industry that gets treated so poorly.

There have also been accusations that an individual was tasered in the alleyway behind the club by police, who have denied this happening.

Another attendee described the excessive force used by police as he was on his way to the venue in a tweet.

Since the advent of the Lockout Laws in Sydney, the over-policing of nighttime venues has been rife. In December last year Candys Apartment, a popular venue was given a 72-hour closure notice following an estimated 40 police officer raid of the venue which resulted in only a single drug arrest.

Image Credit: Business Insider

There are popular movements, such as Keep Sydney Open, moving towards a more positive relationship between politics, the police and those who attend night time entertainment venues. Although events like these beg the question, do we need to do more?

In Melbourne 22 years ago the popular gay nightclub Tasty was raided with the extreme use of force and strip searches. The establishment took the Victoria Police to court, winning the patrons over $10,000,000 in damages. This led to a general relaxation from the police towards night time entertainment venue.

At some point, we need to take action to curb the excessive power that the NSW police deems acceptable to place upon both the people and the establishments in the Kings Cross area. What happened to Club 77 over the weekend was an unnecessary and petty display by the NSW police force.

Bicket has informed FIB that he is currently speaking with the police about the incident at Club 77.