NSW Police Accused Of Double Standards Over Heavy Police Presence In Western Sydney

NSW Police Deputy Commissioner Mal Lanyon said their COVID crackdown isn't racist or discriminatory, despite the cultural and linguistically diverse population who live there.

South West Sydney Police

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Residents of South West Sydney have woken up to increased police presence on Friday, as the State Government is accused of imposing double standards, and over-policing the multicultural area.

At least 100 officers have been deployed to ensure compliance to COVID restrictions, after a spike in positive cases, and breaches to the stay-at-home order. The number includes mounted police, highway patrol, helicopters, transport officers, and dog units, across Canterbury-Bankstown, Fairfield, and Liverpool local government areas.

21 of the 44 locally acquired cases recorded last night were from South West Sydney, NSW Health reported on Friday, alongside tightened restrictions across the state.

“We’re struggling enough, and now we’re being put at the forefront of this outbreak, being made the scapegoats, where realistically, it was the Eastern Suburbs that started all this,” residents told The Guardian.

NSW Police Deputy Commissioner Mal Lanyon told media the measures weren’t racist or discriminatory, despite the predominant culturally and linguistically diverse population who live there.

It comes after Premier Gladys Berejiklian asked ethnic families to stop visiting each other to avoid household transmission on Wednesday, and Assistant Commissioner Tony Cooke telling local shoppers “you don’t need that pair of shoes”.

On Thursday, the co-founder of Western Sydney restaurant chain Rashays, was arrested after his staff took off their masks while eating, despite telling police they put them back on when they were finished. It mirrored a moment in April last year when over 10 officers descended on two men eating pizza in Condell Park over social distancing rules.

Lesser numbers of police have been deployed to Sydney’s affluent East and North over the duration of the pandemic. But people have been quick to point out disparities, such as Bondi Beach being heavily visited during the extended stay-at-home order last week despite a cluster being identified there.

Manly Liberal MP James Griffin even wrote to Berejiklian asking for an exemption to the lockdown restrictions in the Northern Beaches, after an extension was announced this week.

While multicultural liaison officers and paraphernalia in over 50 languages have been distributed to help spread awareness on COVID compliance, South West Sydney locals believe their needs aren’t being acknowledged or met.

Doctors in Western Sydney are grappling with vaccine hesitancy in the area due to top-down misinformation, and business owners say they can’t make a living working from home.

“I think everyone should be worried no matter where they live in Sydney, this isn’t a Fairfield or Liverpool problem,” Mayor of Fairfield, Frank Cabone said on the Today Show on Thursday.

“Fairfield got infected through the different clusters of both Waterloo, the Hurlstone Park cluster, and the student nurse who came from the Inner City,” he said, also citing hotel quarantine issues.

“We can’t have the blame [on] people in Western Sydney, this isn’t a Western Sydney problem,” he continued. “Don’t put this on South West Sydney, I’m not going to cop this.”