The Daily Mail:
- 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 were reportedly spotted checking customers’ bags outside a Kmart store in locked-down south-west Sydney to make sure they’re only buying essential items, but cops say this wasn’t the reason for their visit.
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.
‘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.’
‘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.
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.”