(Australian Associated Press)
The rollout of new body-worn video cameras is being talked up by Queensland’s top cop as a way to alleviate concerns about police brutality on the Gold Coast.
However, police will be able to choose whether or not to record interactions.
Commissioner Ian Stewart on Wednesday welcomed the government-funded rollout of 300 cameras to frontline officers on the Gold Coast, saying it would help “make policing safer”.
He said the ability to film interactions between officers and members of the public would help break down the current perception of excessive police brutality in the region.
But he warned it was a “two-way street”, as video evidence could also be used against anyone being violent towards officers.
“We need the community to understand now that most of their interactions they will have with their police officers will be recorded – so I’d ask them to think about that and their demeanour towards the police at the same time,” he said.
“People won’t necessarily want to go court and fight something when there is video evidence of very unsavoury behaviour.”
Gold Coast police have come under fire in the past few months following a spate of excessive force allegations, a number of which are under investigation by Ethical Standards Command.
In September the state government announced a new review into claims of police brutality and sent a senior ethical standards investigator to oversee operations in the region, while an investigation into police culture on the Gold Coast is also underway.
Mr Stewart said police would be allowed to decide which interactions they filmed, but that this would be reviewed.
“I still want to stress (there are) a million and a half interactions and less than a couple of hundred complaints each year here on the Gold Coast,” he said.
More cameras will be rolled out across the state in coming months.