A politician is calling for an investigation into the tasering of a 95-year-old woman by a police officer in an aged care home to be taken “out of the hands of police”.
Great-grandmother Clare Nowland, 95, is receiving end-of-life care at Cooma Hospital after she sustained serious head injuries during the incident.
Greens MP Sue Higginson has written to the state’s independent law enforcement investigation body over the weekend, requesting the investigation be taken “out of the hands of police”.
“What has happened to Ms Nowland needs to be a turning point,” she said in a statement to media on Monday.
The NSW Police critical incident team and homicide squad investigation is being monitored by the Law Enforcement Conduct Commission (LECC).
“We cannot have police investigating police anymore,” Ms Higginson said.
“If we want anything to change, we need to take the investigation out of police hands.”
She referred to the case of 81-year-old dementia patient, Rachel Grahame, who was hospitalised for six weeks after she was “violently handcuffed” by police at St Basil’s nursing home in 2020.
Her family successfully sued the NSW police and received a compensation payment in November 2021.
“NSW Police have not made any progress since that incident and in fact things have gotten worse,” Ms Higginson said.
“A gross and serious failure of policing has happened and it’s not the first.”
The LECC is tasked with investigating claims of misconduct within NSW Police.
Ms Higginson proposed bold law reform would be needed if it was found that a 95-year-old woman being tasered in an aged care facility by a police officer did not meet the severity threshold for the LECC to investigate.
“We need to start the hard work of making the necessary changes to ensure nothing like this happens in the future,” she said.
NSW Premier Chris Minns was asked whether he believed the public could have confidence in the investigation.
“The officers who are in charge of that inquiry are being paired with LECC officers, so both organisations are involved in the inquiry,” he told reporters on Monday.
“I think that that would give a measure of confidence to the public that this isn’t a situation where the police investigation is taking place by itself. There is an independent oversight that‘s working in concert with it.
“They are experienced detectives who are leading this investigation and we need to let them do that work.”
Mr Minns conceded that the details of the case were “obviously hugely worrying” and said the inquiry would investigate whether the taser was used appropriately.
The Opposition spokesperson for police, Paul Toole has called on the government to make the findings of the inquiry public. He said he has written to the NSW Minister for Police and Counter Terrorism Yasmin Catley to provide a timeline of the review, including when it will be released.
“The incident has raised serious concerns and ignited public outrage, emphasising the critical need for accountability and clarity for this case,” he said.
“The NSW Police Minister has a responsibility to ensure that the dignity of every community member, regardless of age, are safeguarded.”
The NCA NewsWire has contacted the LECC for comment.