2700. Hon Alison Xamon to the minister representing the Minister for Police:

I refer to strip searches undertaken by Western Australia Police in 2018–19, and I ask:

(a)  how many strip searches were conducted on children under the age of 18 years;

(b)  how many of (a) were on:

(i)  males; and

(ii)  females;

(c)  what ages were the children from b(i) and (b)(ii); and

(d)  where were the searches conducted?

Hon Stephen Dawson replied:

The Western Australian Police Force advise:

(a)–(c) Table 1. Number of strip searches conducted by police on persons under 18 during a custody episode in 2018–19 by age and sex

Age (years)




10 1 18 0
11 1 23 0
12 13 55 0
13 41 97 0
14 63 174 0
15 61 204 2
16 60 287 1
17 80 266 3



1 124


(d)  Table 2. Number of strip searches conducted by police during a custody episode on persons under 18 in 2018–19 by region1 and location type2

Location Type

Metro North

Metro South

Regional WA



WA Police Force Facility3

373 350 687 3 1 413


0 0 1 0 1

Hospital/Medical/ Health Centre

1 0 0 0 1


9 2 13 11 35


383 352 701 14 1 450

1 Region has been determined where practical from the free text location field. Therefore, the region should be considered indicative only.

2 Location type has been determined based on a free text field. Therefore the location information should be considered indicative only.

3 WA Police Force Facilities have been defined where the event location description indicates a police station, watch house, district office or special squad premise.

4 Other locations are those where the event location description does not provide any discernible information so as to include in any meaningful grouping. These are predominantly some form of street address.


(1)  Statistics are provisional and subject to revision.

(2)  Western Australia Police Force defines the term ‘strip search’ as:

An authorised officer(s) undertaking a search of a person under the Criminal Investigation Act 2006, (CIA), and may do any or all of the following:

Remove any article that the person is wearing including any article covering their private parts Search any article removed
Search the person’s external parts, including their private parts
Search the person’s mouth but not any other orifice.

(3)  The term ‘custody’ refers to the process undertaken by WA Police Force to detain an individual which under the custodial operational philosophy is necessary to:

Secure the attendance of people for judicial processes;
Ensure the integrity of evidence (physical, identifying particulars and interview); or

Provide care to vulnerable people in a safe and secure environment where no alternative to police detention exists.

(4)  The count of strip searches conducted by WA Police Force has been derived from events recorded in the Custodial Management Application during a period of custody where the event description indicates that a strip search has taken place. The descriptions identified as relevant are:

Search – strip
Detainee search – strip
Other custodial event – strip search Other custody event – strip search

As this is a free text field, it is possible that a small number of strip searches have not been included where they have been recorded using a different description; however, analysis indicates that this margin would be less than 2%.

(5)  Strip searches may be conducted by police in other circumstances however there is no systematic recording practice and therefore these cannot be reliably identified. On this basis, circumstances outside of custody have not been included in the counts provided.

(6)  Gender is based on that stated by the detainee and (where possible), confirmed through identifying information. Counts of ‘male’ and ‘female’ include only those recorded as such. Events where the person has a recorded gender of ‘other’, ‘trans man’ or ‘trans woman’ have been included under ‘other’.

(7)  Age at date of strip search has been determined based on the date of birth stated by the detainee and (where possible), confirmed through identifying information. Where this information has been updated between time of recording and time of extraction, the latest information has been used. Cases where the date of birth is unknown have not been included in counts of persons under 18.

(8)  Location type and region of custody strip searches have been determined based on the free text location description. Therefore the location breakdowns provided should be considered indicative only.


Parliamentary Type: