Copwatch is an education program and app for the Australian Aboriginal Community to help improve engagement, trust and accountability between police and Aboriginal people. The Copwatch app lets you record interactions with police - safely and legally.


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Advice: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander users are advised that this website/app may contain images and voices of people who have died

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Using Copwatch

Why should I use Copwatch?

How do I set-up Copwatch? 

  1. Download the app onto your phone. 

  2. Follow the steps on the app.

  3. Add three people to call or message in an emergency.

    • ​Make sure you let them know that you've added them as contacts, ​

    • Remember to update the names if your friends change. 

  4. Set-up a cloud account (Dropbox, iCloud, Drive etc.) to safely store videos

    • Uploading a Copwatch video to the cloud, prevents police from deleting it from your phone, 

    • To avoid costly mobile data bills, set your phone to auto upload videos when in Wi-Fi range, .  

  5. Later on, if you are involved in an incident with the police, or you think the police will arrest you, you can use Copwatch to

    • Send a message to your emergency contacts, which will notify them that you are involved in an incident with the police. ​

    • Record a video of the police and save the video to the internet. 

(coming soon)

Some thoughts 

  1. You have a legal right to record in public, even if police tell you to stop. Sometimes you will need to let people know that you are recording, or ask them if you can record them. Make sure you know your rights.

  2. Remember, you and your friends will be recorded too, if you behave badly it can be used against you!!!

  3. Think VERY carefully before publishing or sharing your recording, you never know where it will end up or how it might be edited. It’s best talk to someone responsible, like your lawyer, first. 

  4. Copwatch doesn't automatically upload recordings into the cloud (that feature is coming), your recommended to do so manually.

  5. Be respectful when dealing with the police - don’t argue, and follow reasonable instructions like ‘move back’.

  6. Give your correct name and address when asked by police.

  7. You have a legal right to wait until an adult or lawyer is present before talking to the police.

  8. Don't unlock your phone for police - they need a warrant.

  9. Police can't just take your phone without a lawful reason. If they have a lawful reason, like a warrant, you should hand it over. Make sure you know your rights.

Copwatch is available on iPhone & Android 

(coming soon)

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The Copwatch app helps protect you from police overreach. Copwatch can help you in two different ways.


If the police are harassing you, you can press a button on the Copwatch app, and it will send an alert text to the three people. The message includes a map which shows where you are.  You have to store their mobile numbers in the Copwatch app, so it knows who to send messages to. You should put in phone numbers of people you trust, like a friend, relative or teacher. 


If the police are harassing you or someone else, you can use the Copwatch app to record the police,. Afterwards, you can upload it to the cloud so the police cannot delete it. If the police do the wrong thing, you will have a video of it. Importantly, you should NOT share the video on social media prior to consulting a trusted responsible adult.