Should Police have to wear name badges?
In the past NSW police officers have always been required to wear name badges so that they are easily identifiable. In January 2015 this changed with the government now allowing police officers to wear a badge number to identify them instead.
The NSW police association has long held that it is dangerous for members of the police force to wear name badges, as it makes the officers easily identifiable and may lead to officers being targeted or harassed by criminals.
The recent decision by the government that allows police officers to wear a badge number rather than their full name has widely been criticised. These critics say that, name badges are easier to read and remember and allow the public to accurately identify individual officers, whilst an identity number could potentially be misread and would be hard to remember. The fear is that by introducing the numbered badges the level of accountability for police officers would seriously diminish as the ability to identify them will become harder.
The police association has denied claims that the recent rule changes are a way of making police officers who misbehave less accountable for their actions. The police association argues that the reason for the rule changes is to protect officers from harassment and other threats of violence because they are easily identifiable.
Those against the recent move say that information such as a police officers address or direct contact details cannot be ascertained from the meager information contained in the name badge; rather, there is just enough for the purposes of a complaint.
Because of this people against the recent move have argued that, these numbered badges will only serve to make it easier for police officers who wish to hide their misconduct to do so, lowering their accountability.
Are police required to provide their details?
Just as you are required to provide identification details to the police in certain situations, the police are also required by law to provide their identification details when they are in their official capacity.
Under section 202 of the Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Act 2002 (the LEPRA) a police officer must provide their name and place of duty as well as the reason for the exercise of the act that they are undertaking. Whether or not a police officer complies with this legislation is of course another matter, there have been many stories involving police officers who have refused to provide the correct details when asked.
If you feel that you have been unfairly treated you can always make a complaint to the police association. If you are unhappy with the outcome of this complaint you could always contact an experienced lawyer for information regarding a civil claim for compensation.