Teen's violent arrest exposes bigger issue
FOOTAGE of a violent arrest of a naked, 16-year-old boy in Byron Bay was taken out of context, the Police Association has said as a review is underway into the incident.
Executive member for the Northern NSW branch, Brett Henderson-Smith said the "full context" behind the arrest last month wasn't shown when part of the video was aired on national television earlier this week.
The footage showed four police officers pinning down the teenager, who police said appeared to be impaired by drugs and/or alcohol and aggressive toward the officers.
Mr Henderson-Smith said there was "a process in place" investigating the incident and that the association would not comment further.
He wouldn't comment if any association members were involved, but Mr Henderson-Smith said the association had provided support to its members on the North Coast.
What he did say was that the incident reflected shortages in sectors such as mental health and other correctional services that have placed "enormous demand on our police".
"We are asking the police to fill a gap as well as conduct their core duties," Mr Henderson-Smith said.
"And that impacts on limited police here (in the Tweed/Byron Local Area Command) who are diverted away from their core duty, which is to protect life and property."
He said steps by the command to deploy an extra police car to drug-related offences were necessary to keep the community and police safe on the streets.
"Unfortunately we need to put these steps in place to protect our officers and the community," he said.
While many have backed the actions of police in tackling drug-fuelled violence, others have criticised the officers for using excessive force on a minor.