- Staff | The Australian, July 13, 2017
Indigenous communities across Australia could be trained to expose police harassment with mobile phones and social media if a human rights group’s plan succeeds.
The Copwatch project will provide human rights lawyers and journalists to teach indigenous communities how to film and share interactions with police and authority figures.
Sydney-based National Justice Project is developing the program as a response to complaints of over-policing in indigenous communities.
Sixteen Aboriginal communities in NSW’s central west will put their hand up for Copwatch if it gets off the ground.
“The community shouldn’t be the ones monitoring the police behaviour but we have to because of ongoing abuse,” Murdi Paaki chair Des Jones told AAP on Wednesday.
“It will teach people their rights, how to use their phones. It’ll train them to be aware and when to lock-and-load their recording device.”
Mr Jones, whose organisation represents 16 communities, said he wants to put the experiences Aboriginal people have with police in front of human rights watchdogs.
NSW Police respects the rights of citizens to film in a public place, a spokesman told AAP.
He added that there were existing avenues to file complaints about the conduct of officers but did not comment on allegations of over-policing among indigenous communities.
Copwatch has raised more than $23,000 of its $50,000 goal through crowdfunding online at chuffed.org.
Australian Associated Press