Police are becoming wary of being caught on mobile phone cameras for fear of their work being taken out of context.
Australian Federal Police commissioner Andrew Colvin says fficers are afraid that no matter what they do or say, they will be recorded and it will be interpreted incorrectly.
He said the agency is seeing the effects in the US where police are concerned about engaging with the public.
Small mistakes can become large mistakes, he said.
“Situations where they would once have thought they were talking to someone in a low-risk situation all of a sudden become high-risk.
“Eventually that gets into the psyche of the police because you start to think it’s easier not to engage in this conversation, in this problem, than it is to sit back and watch.”
Mr Colvin said police officers were facing greater challenges because of increased threats, citing attacks on Victorian police and NSW police worker Curtis Cheng, who was shot dead last year.
Police were not difficult to target and a simple phone call could beckon them to dangerous situations.
“It does affect their psyche,” he said.
Asked if government could provide help, Mr Colvin said it was more a cultural and social issue of attitudes.