Martin Bullock Lawyers supports police in their important work within the community. However, what do you do if the police exceed their authority? In particular, can you record police officers or other authorities in a public place?
The answer is yes. We live in a democracy. Sometimes people in positions of power exceed their authority, and sometimes people get injured.
You are allowed to film police performing their duties in a public place. You must obey instructions, stand back, not block the road, not cause a danger to others, and if you follow reasonable instructions and do not escalate the situation, potentially by abusing the police, then you will not break any laws. This includes filming police inside hotels and other venues.
New App – Copwatch
On 31 August 2018, the National Justice Project travelled to Dubbo to launch their new Copwatch app.
Copwatch was designed to provide some protection to people who are targeted by the police.
The app provides people with a wealth of information on their rights when it comes to dealing with the police, and it also includes the function to record interactions with police and upload the video directly to the cloud, in case the phone is lost or damaged.
Copwatch was launched in Dubbo in response to a recent police crackdown in the area, which has seen a drastic reduction in a number of crime statistics including breaking and entering, and shoplifting. However, locals in Dubbo report being increasingly harassed by police, who are empowered under the new policy to stop and search people on even the slightest suspicion. Lack of eye contact, a criminal history, an unconvincing explanation for where they are going are deemed enough reason for a vehicle or body search.
Aborigines in the community feel targeted by the crackdown, finding themselves being stopped and searched by the police more and more often. A local Wiradjuri elder says young Aboriginal people are being “harassed on a daily basis. They’re not pulling up other groups of young people.”
Read more about the Copwatch app on the National Justice Project website.
If you have been charged by the police, or if you have any questions in relation to what your rights and responsibilities are when it comes to dealing with the police, contact Martin Bullock Lawyers on 02 9687 9322.