Nowland’s death came after a string of high-profile incidents involving officers including an assault conviction on Monday of an officer who injured a teenage Indigenous boy by sweeping his legs from under him during an arrest.
“I think it’s really important to know that the investigation was launched by the Police Commissioner in concert with LECC [Law Enforcement Conduct Commission] and a critical incident team,” he said.
“It’s been six or seven days old and they’re responsible for, as you’ve seen in media reports, the charging of the officer involved.”
The circumstances surrounding Nowland’s alleged Tasering by an officer have raised questions about the role of police in dealing with incidents at aged care homes.
Webb told this masthead on Wednesday she was concerned that police were called to a private health facility to deal with a problem its staff could not resolve. “That’s their core business, it’s not a police officer’s core business, but we’ve been called there,” Webb said. “People with dementia do require particular care and attention and understanding.”
Minns said he would “take on board” Webb’s comments, acknowledging that “resources are stretched”.
“This particular incident will now likely be dealt with at the coronial stage. There will obviously be a critical incident report and several other reports as a result of this obviously unfortunate event in a Cooma,” he said.
“So I want to see what those inquiries say. But I take on board what the Police Commissioner has said and I know that resources are stretched, particularly for NSW Police, and police have to attend a whole range of events right across NSW involving many, many different scenarios.”
The Police Minister has been criticised for failing to answer questions from the media since the incident, but Minns defended that decision saying it was important the investigation wasn’t “hindered by political interference”.
“We’ve stuck by that, as has the Minister for Police, and I don’t think it would have been appropriate for her to offer a running commentary while there was an investigation taking place,” he said.
He criticised opposition leader Mark Speakman and the Coalition’s spokesman on police Paul Toole for publicly calling for the release of body-camera footage of the incident.
“I think that the opposition should be very careful about what they say in relation to a matter that is now before the courts,” Minns said.
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