Greens MP and spokesperson for Justice Sue Higginson will today give notice of a motion calling for the NSW Government to establish a Parliamentary Inquiry into NSW Police following the tasering of 95 year old dementia patient Clare Nowland last week and the subsequent revelations of other incidents of police causing harm to elderly residents in aged care homes across the state. The call comes days after the conviction of a Sydney police officer for the assault of a 16 year old First Nations boy and the release of a report by the Law Enforcement Conduct Commission (LECC) today that identifies a plethora of failings in matters of integrity and oversight in the NSW Police.
Ms Higginson has referred the tasering of Ms Nowland to the LECC demanding a fully independent investigation and will now bring the issue to the floor of NSW Parliament when it resumes today. The motion also calls for the bodycam footage of Ms Nowland’s tasering to be released to the public after Police Commissioner Karen Webb confirmed yesterday she would not watch the footage.
“The tasering of Ms Nowland has sparked a community outrage that shows how desperately we need police reform,” Ms Higginson said. “The NSW Police are tasked with keeping our communities and vulnerable people safe. Instead people are coming forward with alarming examples of ways the NSW Police have acted out of turn and rarely faced consequences - I fear this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the extent of the issue.
“The refusal to release the bodycam footage protects NSW Police from public scrutiny for all the wrong reasons - the NSW Community has a right to know exactly what happened when Clare Nowland was tasered so we can start to take the steps needed for change.
“We need to shine a light on policing in NSW now and a Parliamentary Inquiry would allow us to do this. It would help us understand the extent of this issue, how much harm is being caused in our communities and what police need to do their job properly. We can’t ignore this any longer and we have to accept that the tasering of Clare Nowland wasn’t isolated: it’s part of a suite of violent actions by police that are damaging our communities and we need a plan for repair.
“If we're going to undertake the work reforming the way NSW Police operates and the accountability and oversight mechanisms needed to ensure that we no longer have a culture of impunity in the police force, we need to expose the extent of the issue through an Inquiry.” Ms Higginson said.
For media comment contact: Sue Higginson on 0428 227 363