It’s real life policing, not an episode of COPS
The NSW police commissioner said earlier this week that police could soon be doubling as camera men and women, recording footage of alcohol-related confrontations. This would serve as evidence of bad behaviour and support the Force’s current Operation Unite and previous hard-line campaigns.
Andrew Scipione claims the cameras will enhance “transparency” and “accountability”. But the officers would be the ones to press Record, Stop and Delete, meaning there would be no guarantee of honest, fair and unbiased representation. Or transparency, for that matter. Would you expect to see incriminating or abusive footage that implicates the Police in any way? Hardly.
If ever such recordings were admissible in court, the one-sided footage could also be prejudicial.
Nobody is denying that Australia has alcohol and substance abuse issues. Same goes for excessive police force and discretionary powers, if you ask me. But are police cameras really the answer? Scipione thinks so.
“The footage captures the raw experiences of our police officers, from their own eyes,” he said in The Daily Telegraph’s report on Monday. “If anyone decides they want to throw a punch at one of these officers, or any of our emergency service officers, they should understand that we’ll throw the book at you.”
Interesting comment given the Brazilian student, Roberto Curti’s death is still fresh in our minds. Perhaps Scipione should explain the anticipated outcome of these publicly funded gadgets. How exactly are they expected to curb alcohol-related brawls and incidents? And how is he going to ensure that any abuses of power are also caught on camera?
What’s next: an Aussie version of COPS? Will we soon see ads for a reality TV program which uses raw takes from an officer’s bullet-proof vest? Why watch Border Security when you’ve got Aussie COPS with shocking scenes of Kings Cross where incoherent drunk teens fall all over the road?
New South Wales law enforcement is particularly obsessed with disorderly young men who go too hard on the grog. The publicity of such crime and “zero tolerance” campaigns are of course, a result of the Force’s Hulk-like PR machine. I can’t think of a better PR vehicle, or even revenue source, than a reality TV series showing how the Police are fighting hard to keep drunks off the streets.
The next organised purge of drunkards from NSW streets will be this weekend. So watch out, you could be on candid camera.
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