Outrage as police are spotted ‘checking Kmart customers’ shopping bags to make sure they’re buying essential items during Sydney’s lockdown’ – but cops say there’s more to the story
- Western Sydney has been focus of a strengthened police presence since Friday
- Some locals said police were checking bags at Kmart Casula for essential items
- Under lockdown rules residents can only leave their house for essential reasons
Police have reportedly been spotted checking customers’ bags outside a Kmart store in locked-down south-west Sydney to make sure they’re only buying essential items.
A local Facebook page shared a photo of officers standing at the entrance of the department store in Casula on Friday afternoon and urged residents to remain home.
‘Heads up the police are at the entrance checking bags and questioning the reason for essential travel,’ the caption to the post said.
‘If the government doesn’t want the community in Kmart then they need to shut down stores. This is where it confuses the ‘non-English’ community they keep blaming for the numbers.’
The picture shows two police officers wearing masks stationed next to the store’s security gates.
A worker at the store told Daily Mail Australia police had been there on Friday afternoon and Saturday morning speaking to shoppers and checking bags.
However, NSW Police denied the officers were checking bags, insisting they were ‘on the scene for other reasons’.
‘Checking shopping bags is not part of the COVID police operation,’ a spokesperson told Daily Mail Australia.
A police operation targeting lockdown breaches has commenced in Sydney’s West with police spotted at the entrance to Kmart Casula (pictured) on Friday
A comment from the Facebook page who said the officers were checking shoppers bags on Friday afternoon
On Friday a dedicated police operation commenced in southwest Sydney with 100 more officers deployed to the area to ensure compliance with lockdown rules.
The Fairfield, Canterbury-Bankstown and Liverpool local government areas have seen high rates of Covid transmission this week.
Assistant Commissioner Tony Cooke said shopping centres would be a particular focus of the operation.
‘The question will be…what’s your reasonable excuse for being here? You don’t need that pair of shoes today,’ he said.
‘The problem we have is people are going out when we don’t need to, they are coming back and infecting their family. That is what we have said, that is what the health advice is.’
People commenting on the controversial Facebook post of the police officers said the measures seemed extreme.
Residents can only leave their house for essential reasons (pictured: a woman in Liverpool on Saturday morning)
Assistant Commissioner Tony Cooke said shopping centres would be a focus for the 100 extra police deployed to western Sydney
‘Welcome the the police state,’ one person said.
‘How ridiculous,’ added another.
‘Who are they to tell us what’s essential? Maybe they just broke their last pair of shoes,’ added a third.
However others argued residents should follow the rules.
‘Good, they should learn what’s essential. If you don’t desperately need something then don’t go out’ one person said.
Saturday was meant to be the day Greater Sydney emerged from a two-week lockdown, but instead the city has recorded another 50 cases.
They are also subject to the toughest COVID-19 restrictions in over a year.
The new cases were diagnosed from over 42,000 tests in the 24 hours to 8pm on Friday, and include 37 who were active in the community for all or part of their infectious period.
Residents in Sydney’s south-west and western suburbs have been urged not to leave their homes unless necessary (police are pictured stationed in Liverpool)
EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT NEW RESTRICTIONS:
THE UPDATED RESTRICTIONS IN GREATER SYDNEY, BLUE MOUNTAINS, CENTRAL COAST, WOLLONGONG AND SHELLHARBOUR:
– Outdoor public gatherings limited to two people (excluding members of the same household)
– People must exercise within 10km of their home
– No carpooling with members of other households
– Browsing at shops is prohibited, and only one person per household per day may leave the home for shopping
– Funerals limited to 10 people from July 11.
THE FOUR REASONS TO LEAVE HOME UNDER LOCKDOWN:
– Shopping for food or other essential goods and services (one person per household per day)
– Medical care or compassionate needs (only one visitor can enter another residence in circumstances of compassionate needs)
– Exercise with no more than one other person (unless members of the same household)
– Essential work or education where you cannot work or study from home.