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More than 70% of NSW Police records of use of force contained inaccuracies, review reveals

Giovanni Torre -

More than 70 per cent of official New South Wales Police Force records regarding the use of force contained at least one error, a review by the state’s Law Enforcement Conduct Commission has found.

The Commission’s report, released Tuesday, revealed that the NSW Police Force’s database does not accurately record the police’s use of force.

The review identified under-reporting of police using firearms, Tasers and capsicum spray in their record-keeping database.

More than 70% of the 210 official police records the Commission reviewed contained at least one error, despite supervising officers checking those records.

Chief Commissioner Peter Johnson SC said making improvements to the data-collection system of police use-of-force record-keeping “could help to improve public trust”.

“The police have significant powers to use force in certain circumstances,” he said.

“One way of making sure that the police’s use-of-force is reasonable and lawful is to make sure that there is an accurate record of any police use-of-force.

“Good records allow for proper scrutiny of the frequency of use-of-force and the circumstances in which it is used. If extra training is needed, that can be identified.”

Mr Johnson SC also noted that good record-keeping allows the NSW Parliament, Commissioner of Police and the general public “to know that these significant powers are effective and how they are exercised”.

The report urged the NSW Police Force improve the training and instructions given to officers about how to record use-of-force.

In response to the report the NSW Police Force said it will develop new policy, guidelines and training.

NSW Deputy Premier and Minister for Police Paul Toole told National Indigenous Times: "As acknowledged by the report, the NSW Police Force is already working to address the report’s recommendations."

The Commission’s report into the creation of a more effective data-collection system of police use-of-force record-keeping can be found here and a Fact Sheet about the Commission’s report can be found here.




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