NSW Police, an institution that will never fail to repulse and anger me, has revealed the force is replacing its current tasers, which have in-built cameras, with new camera-less tasers — a week after the death of 95-year-old great-grandmother Clare Nowland.
Great idea, dickheads! I can’t wait to see how this change will allow you to abuse your power even more than you already do, said absolutely no one.
Cops currently use the Taser X26P, but a NSW Police spokesperson told The Canberra Times that the model has been discontinued.
“Because the X26P will not be available, NSWPF recently procured the Taser 7, which is in the process of being rolled out to operational police across the state,” the spokesman said.
“The manufacturers of the Taser 7 have not included a camera in the unit.”
The spokesperson said the Taser 7 can be integrated with police-worn body cameras, and the force is working with companies to design a “holster activation device” so the cameras automatically switch on when the weapon is drawn.
Until then, cops in NSW have to manually turn on body-worn video. And guess what? There are no circumstances where it’s mandatory for NSW Police to whack their cameras on.
According to the force’s body-worn video operating procedures, cops “will use their own judgement” when it comes to turning their cameras on. But they “should” be used “when police would normally use their notebook to record information”, “when exercising a police power”, “performing a police function”, and “when the use of force is anticipated”, among other situations.
Not to be a Negative Nancy, but just because a police officer “should” fang their body-worn camera on, it doesn’t mean they will. And with no video evidence, there’ll be even less accountability than there already is.
I mean, there is body-camera footage of Senior Constable Kristian White allegedly tasering Clare Nowland twice at a Cooma nursing home last month.
The beloved great-grandmother — who suffered from dementia, weighed just 43 kg and was only 5’2″ — was allegedly holding a knife when she shuffled towards police while using a walker. Her family claims she was trying to make toast.
After she was tasered, it is alleged that Nowland fell and fractured skull. She also allegedly had holes burned into her chest from the weapon.
She died on Wednesday, May 24.
So, there’s footage of this confronting incident — but Police Commissioner Karen Webb refuses to watch it.
The top cop told Karl Stefanovic on Today that “watching the video now won’t make the investigation go faster”. However, she also said there’s no way of knowing why White immediately resorted to violence rather than implementing de-escalation tactics.
Now, I’m no expert, but I reckon the body-camera footage would show exactly that. I’m just putting it out there.
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