Ending the unfair and unlawful STMP

Ending the unfair and unlawful STMP

The Suspect Targeting Management Plan (STMP) was a secretive NSW Police policy used to target people ‘police believe likely to commit future crime’. In practice, it targeted people for unfair and sometimes unlawful police attention, particularly young First Nations people.  

A person on the STMP received ‘proactive attention’, often meaning repeated stops and searches and home visits at any hour.  

The policy had a disproportionate impact on First Nations children. By 2022, more than half of adults and 71% of young people on the STMP identified as Aboriginal.  

Defeating the STMP was a significant victory against misuse of police powers.  

Stopping the STMP 

We first became aware of the STMP in 2012, when clients reported being visited at home by police and stopped and searched ‘because they were on the STMP’.  

In 2015, our colleagues at the Aboriginal Legal Service NSW/ACT (ALS) raised concerns about First Nations children being harassed by police and asked us to work with them. We formed the Youth Justice Coalition (YJC) with ALS, the Shopfront Youth Legal Centre, Redfern Legal Centre, and policing expert and academic, Dr Vicki Sentas, and set about exposing the STMP. Police were resistant – refusing to release information about the STMP. 

Our 2017 report into the STMP exposed the issue and gained widespread media coverage, putting police and government on notice. It led to the police watchdog, the Law Enforcement Conduct Commission (LECC), launching ‘Operation Tepito’, a 5 year investigation of NSW Police use of the STMP.  

Our coalition did not wait for its verdict – we continued to doggedly challenge police misuse of powers, representing clients to get compensation and stop harassment. We engaged directly with the LECC to inform their process and secure strong findings. We kept the issue on the agenda with successive governments through parliamentary submissions and media coverage.  

In October 2023, the LECC released a scathing report determining that use of the STMP ‘amounted to agency maladministration’ and ‘could possibly meet the threshold for serious misconduct’. By December, NSW Police stopped using the STMP. 

Media Coverage 

ABC News Radio, Children as young as 10 on “secret police blacklist”: study, 25 October 2017 

The Guardian, NSW police may be investigated for ‘secret blacklist’ used to target children, 26 October 2017. 

2SER, Suspect Targeting Management Plan (or STMP), 1 July 2022  

The Guardian, NSW police accused of ‘oppressive’ tactics against subjects on secretive blacklist, 4 July 2022. 

Junkee, NSW Police Targeting First Nations Kids With System Of ‘Pro-Active’ Monitoring, 4 July 2022. 

National Indigenous Times, Closing the Gap targets would lead to ‘competing duties’: NSW Police Commissioner, 25 October 2023.  

ABC News, Report finds NSW Police suspect lists led to ‘gross over-representation’ of Indigenous people, 30 October 2023. 

National Indigenous Times, NSW Police use of Suspect Targeting Management Plan could meet “threshold for serious misconduct”, 30 October 2023. 

Keep up to date with our work

Subscribe for updates including media coverage, event invitations and progress stories. You will hear from us about twice a month.