This article was updated at 3.51pm to include recent developments from the inquiry.
A police officer working at last year’s Splendour In The Grass has admitted the strip searches he conducted at the festival were “unlawful”.
The admissions were made at an inquiry by the Law Enforcement Conduct Commission (LECC).
According to the LECC website, the commission is investigating “the strip search of an underage female at the Splendour In The Grass music festival in July 2018 by NSW Police, and strip search practices more generally”.
At the inquiry yesterday, both the senior constable and one of his superiors admitted that they were not aware of the legal requirements for conducting the “invasive” procedure and agreed the circumstances were “unlawful”.
They also conceded at the event it was the “modus operandi” to strip search everyone indicated by a sniffer dog.
In a statement provided to the LECC on Monday, and available in the hearing transcript, the teenager, who was one of seven minors strip searched at the event, said she “felt completely humiliated”.
“People were yelling out saying that the police had someone. I was really scared because I did not have any drugs on me and I was completely alone,” it read.
When she was eventually released with nothing found, the patron said she “was extremely upset”.
“I was sobbing. I sat with my friend trying to calm down. I did not stop crying for approximately 20 minutes.”
The public inquiry is now questioning the legality of ordering people to squat during the search.
The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Chief Commissioner of the LECC, Michael Adams, shared that although it had "long been the practice" of NSW Police to tell someone to squat during the search, there was no instruction to do so in the police handbook.
"Whether this is lawful is a matter of present consideration and will be considered in the course of this investigation," he said.
The public hearing will run from Tuesday through Thursday.
Splendour In The Grass organisers were unable to provide comment to The Music "due to this being an ongoing investigation".
The admission comes as the festival debate rages on in NSW, with the Music Festivals Bill back before the Legislative Assembly today.
Splendour In The Grass, Laneway and Falls Festival are just a few of Australia's live music events that will "consider their future in NSW" following a meeting with Customer Service Minister Victor Dominello on Monday.