Calls to strengthen psych testing of police recruits after alleged murders of Jesse Baird and Luke Davies

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Remy Varga
The Nightly
3 Min Read
Beau Lamarre-Condon was removed from the NSW Police Force after he was charged with double murder.
Beau Lamarre-Condon was removed from the NSW Police Force after he was charged with double murder. Credit: Liam Mendes/supplied/supplied

The NSW Greens are calling on police to strengthen the psychological screening of potential recruits as the former constable accused of murdering a gay couple in Sydney’s eastern suburbs is yet to enter a plea.

Data released to The Nightly under freedom of information laws has revealed that 3.4 per cent of applicants to join NSW Police, or 15 from a cohort of 445, failed psychometric testing in 2023.

The number was higher in 2022 at five per cent or 26 out of 521 applicants.

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The issue of how NSW Police screens potential recruits emerged after former constable Beau Lamarre Condon was charged with using his police-issued Glock pistol to murder popular television presenter Jesse Baird and his boyfriend Luke Davies at a terrace house in Paddington on February 19.

The alleged murders of two gay men on the eve of the annual Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras celebrations devastated Sydney and threatened to derail decades of progress between NSW Police and the LGBT community.

NSW Greens MP Sue Higginson, also the party’s justice spokeswoman, said NSW Police was an incredibly powerful organisation that allowed sworn officers to carry and use deadly weapons.

“The standards of entry for prospective officers of the NSW Police should be as high as possible and I think that is what the community expects,” she said.

“There have clearly been failures in the psychometric testing process and the result is death for victims of violent crime with police-issued weapons, this is a dreadful failure and must be accounted for and corrected as soon as possible.”

The bodies of Mr Baird, with whom Lamarre-Condon had some kind of prior relationship, and Mr Davies were found inside surfboard bags at a property near Goulburn in the state’s southern tablelands.

Lamarre-Condon, an aspiring actor obsessed with celebrities had allegedly kept possession of his weapon after working an overtime shift policing a rally in support of Palestine.

A NSW Police spokesperson said the recruitment process included medical and psychological assessments to assess an applicant’s ability to perform police duties.

“All applicants undergo a medical assessment, which includes a review of any declared history of psychological issues and any declared previous or current medication usage,” said the spokesperson.

“Additionally, all applicants undergo psychometric screening and testing in line with current industry standards.”

On Tuesday the former police officer did not appear via videolink as his matter was heard mentioned inside Sydney’s Downing Centre Local Court on Tuesday.

The court heard that prosecutors had served parts of the brief of evidence on Mr Lamarre-Condon’s legal team.

Outside court, Lamarre-Condon’s lawyer John Walford said his client was doing “OK” in prison and said the charges could be “defendable”. The former police officer has yet to enter a plea and is in custody at Silverwater prison. Lawyers for Lamarre-Condon have previously indicated his mental health may form part of the defence.

The matter returns to court on June 18.

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