National’s Police spokesperson Chris Bishop has drafted a Member’s Bill to give automatic name suppression to police officers involved in fatal shootings.
“By convention, the media choose not to report the names of police officers involved in shootings that lead to the death of a member of the public. However, it is not against the law.
“For many years the Police Association has been worried about officers’ names being revealed.
“When involved in a fatal incident police officers are often worried whether their name will become public. It is an incredibly traumatic and stressful time for any officer, amplified by the concern that their name will become public. This is particularly so in smaller communities.
“The Bill provides that nobody may name, or provide the address, or other identifying details of any police officer involved or suspected to be involved in death as a result of the use of a firearm by a police officer acting in the execution of their duty.
“The Bill also provides an exemption to this restriction upon application to the Chief Coroner, which could be used if the information is in the public interest.
“If the name of a police officer involved in a fatal incident is published - but following the court processes and independent conduct investigations the officer is found not to be at fault, the officer’s name will have already been put in the public domain.
“This may have long-ranging impacts on the officer’s future which, particularly in the case of being cleared of any wrongdoing, could impact their employability, their public standing, and their wellbeing.
“This is a common sense change which I hope will gain widespread support.”