The last couple of times I have been stopped by a police officer they have been wearing shades. Police officer or civilian, I find it impersonal, uncomfortable, and even de-humanising to talk with somebody whose eyes I cannot see.
We have all seen photos of people whose identity has been concealed by placing a black line across their eyes, and wearing shades has the same effect.
The discomfort of speaking to someone who I cannot identify as a particular human being is all the more intense when dealing with a police officer since they hold a position of power.
Readers may be familiar with the famous Stanford Prison Experiment and the role the uniforms, including the wearing of shades, had in helping the guards adopt their role of authority and exercising unjust and inhumane treatment of their inmates.
For these reasons I contacted the NSW Police Force asking if I am OK to request that, if the officer is wearing shades, he or she raise them so I can see their eyes.
The reply given was that ‘officers have the right to wear sunglasses while on duty’ and that I can ‘ask to see a police officer’s badge/ID to confirm they are an officer’, which misses the point I was making.
I regard this as one more step toward the militarisation of the police force. Police officers are civil servants and thus should act in a civil manner. Am I the only one bothered by this?
Jason van Tol, Upper Coopers Creek