NSW Police Minister Complains About 7 Year Old Australian GTA Mod

Image: Facebook/Emergency Australia GTAIV Mods

In one of the more bizarre things to happen this week, NSW Police Minister Troy Grant has gone on national television to complain about a seven year old mod for Grand Theft Auto 4.

The minister, who starred in the Channel Seven evening news last night, complained that a mod (written by "underground computer geeks", according to journalist Mike Duffy) that adds NSW Police vehicles and officers into the game was "peverse".

"The game that I've seen, where they've arrested somebody, and then shoot them, that doesn't happen, that's peverse," the minister said. "There's a fear that this desensitises people to the real risk the police face and I find it offensive," he added.

The footage of the game shown off last night, which was reproduced for the online version of the story, was taken from a nearly two year old video from Aussie YouTuber radcliffegames. It's a mod used by a clan called "NSW Police Gaming" and Emergency Australia GTA 4 Mods before that, both of which were communities built around the idea of roleplaying as emergency services personnel in GTA Online.

Channel Seven's report started with GTA 4 footage uploaded by radcliffegames, but also included footage of mods for GTA V. The core gameplay is based on a mod called LSPD First Response, which turns GTA V into a law enforcement sim that lets players conduct high speed pursuits, traffic stops, and more.

The reaction online from gamers was one of bemusement, especially when Channel Seven followed up with a segment earlier this morning that described the mod as a "black market version" and a "hack" that "allows gamers to attack NSW police".

A member of the Emergency Australia mod community told Kotaku Australia that the mod was created by more than 30 GTA fans from around the world. "It's a harmless mod designed for those enthusiastic about emergency services based in Australia who would like to role play it out as officers, firefighters and medical personnel performing good deeds," Gaz, who wished to be identified by their online name due to their occupation, said.

"Over the years individual polices officers have actually helped with the mod getting to where it is by showing support and providing reference pictures and encouraging the creation of the mod because they supported the harmless effects that it has, and as well as that it inspired kids to think of a career in the emergency services field. It put emergency services members in a positive light and gave kids somewhat an insight into our emergency services and encourage and inspired them to want to join them when they were older."

I reached out to the NSW Police Force to get clarification on what action they might take against GTA, Rockstar or the makers of the mods involved. A NSW Police Force spokesperson replied via email saying "this could constitute offences under state and federal laws", but didn't provide any specifics. I also flicked an email to Rockstar asking for their perspective on the situation, but hadn't heard back at the time of writing.

Gaz noted that some of the emergency services modding community were "current serving officers within Australian law enforcement agencies", and serving NSW Police Force officers had praised the mod after playing it. He added that he didn't know of anyone in the modding community that was contacted by the NSW Police force, the Police Minister's office, or Channel Seven prior to the report being aired.


Comments

    this could constitute offences under state and federal laws

    Yeah... but it doesn't. In any way.

    Last edited 17/02/17 1:16 pm

    Wow. They are REALLY keeping up with the times there. Insert comment about solving real crimes here.

    I wonder where the beat up started? Did someone in Police finally stumble on this and go "oh my god" or was this generated by the media purely for the sake of a story? Because to be honest it seems almost "made up".

    And if they are serious, haven't these people seen *any* games beyond Sonic? OMG Counterstrike lets terrorists kill special forces. OMG Battlefield lets Nazis kill poor innocent Allied soldiers. Sheesh.

    Side note: Getting really sick of Gizmodo/Kotaku/Lifehacker saying I'm logged in across all three sites, but when I try to post it errors out. Only way to fix it is to logout and log back in again.

      Yeah, I'm also getting that post error bug, same fix. Just glad modern browsers save the content of form fields when you go back or I'd have lost some pretty long posts.

      It's cooked up on an angle, let us not pretend the news is fighting any sort of good fight.

      Scaring parents in to worrying about the 12 ways bread can kill your family or the hidden dangers of pants, calling for heavier policing and regulation, who knows what these donkeys are peddling.

        "Tonight, on ACTION NEWS! Filling your lungs with bread....could be fatal? We'll take a look later at 11:00. But first....'Does this puppy look like he'd be a good lover?' - Jane Bunn investigates:..."

    This is just sad that it makes it to the news 7 YEARS!!! 7 YEARS!! after it's initial release. Then to go on and say there has been an 8% increase in violence and to blame a video game mod ( not "black market" or a "hack" you idiots )

    The mod has probably been downloaded more since yesterday then it has in 7 years

    Hey Alex. It's nice to see some sense finally after all the sh*t from mainstream media. I actually made some of the videos channel 7 stole for their stories (temporarily unlisted my videos as of now).

    I'd like to clarify some things. While there are 7 year old NSWPF mods for GTA5, they were mainly focusing on GTA 5 mods which are much more recent. Also, no laws have been broken by any parties involved. The so called 'designers' or video creators. I have not been contacted by NSWPF, NSW Parliament, 7 News or anyone as a matter of fact, and neither have the countless others that I have been in contact with myself.

    As i'm sure you've seen on the lcpdfr.com forums (which has over 237,000 members from around the world, this isn't an 'underground geek squad' as they referred to it as, which did actually offend some people) everyone is seeing this as what it really is, a twisted story to make controversial headlines.

    LSPDFR is a modification which allows you to PLAY AS A COP, NOT KILL THEM! You don't need to 'hack' the game to do that anyway. Now let me ask this question. Why would anyone interested in killing cops want to play as them, and if said people have such a hatred of cops, why do they spend hours making mods for the game? They literally flipped the real message on it's head.

    And yes, there are real life serving NSWPF, ASNSW, FRNSW and police officers from other states and territories in the community, who play the game and the mods and who enjoy the videos. Darkmyre Gaming on YouTube (who was also in the 7 News video) has multiple active serving officers watching his videos and live streams.

    Feel free to add and update your article with any of the information i've given and hopefully this brings some light to people.

      Sorry, I accidentally wrote GTA5 instead of GTA4. :P

      While there are 7 year old NSWPF mods for GTA5,

        Yup, gotcha. That's a fantastic comment, but what I think I'll do is follow this up in the future about the community and why people enjoy this kind of roleplaying. There's a great story to tell there.

        if anything, the mainstream medias choice to twist the truth so far could work out for some major publicity!

    It's funny because them bringing this up makes me want to get it and have a go.

    Also, why are kids clearly under 15 years old depicted to be playing the game in the video? I think that's what is perverse.

      It's funny because them bringing this up makes me want to get it and have a go.

      Streisand Effect in full force.

      Especially when GTA V is an 18+ video game, heh.

    Underground computer geeks at it again. Corrupting our children one black market hack at a time.

    Fakenews

      I'm almost over hearing that term, not because it has or has no meaning, but because it's being used by a lot of people as a weapon.

      No matter where you look, you see people fighting and telling you who is using fake news and who isn't.
      But everyone is, that's the problem.
      It's an influx of false, manipulated and twisted information for just about any issue for what ever side you want to choose.

      We are entering a true post truth era, where we go to who tells us what we want to hear, because that's all there is left really.

      Either way you lose.......seems to be a theme these days huh.

    Can we all just take a moment to draw attention to TheDmac's avatar?

    That is some top notch journalism right there. Their grasp of gaming culture and fact checking is Incredible.

    Brilliant journalism at work yet again by 7.

    They fail to show what game those kids are even playing. They assume it's GTA of course!

    Sorry but this to me highlights just how out of touch politicians and the TV media are. How delusional do they have to be to actually believe they can spout such bs as this and get away with it?

    I can say that getting NSW Police and NSW Fire and Rescue into the game Grand Theft Auto is absolutely offensive and it's also too heinous to watch seeing that Grand Theft Auto is a bloody and gory game which involves playing hit and run with the law. Those computer geeks should be taken down by NSW Police and be found responsible for setting up those GTA mods.

    It's not exactly a shocker to see tabloid journalists carrying on like the imbeciles they are.

    While I can certainly understand the frustration with this sort of coverage, probably the best step we as gamers can take is to contact 7 News, (and then potentially escalate to the Australian Communications & Media Authority (ACMA) if 7's response does not adequately address the concerns).

    From the FreeTV fact sheet:
    Broadcasters must present factual matters accurately and must not misrepresent viewpoints.
    ...
    • Must make reasonable efforts to correct or clarify significant errors of fact, which may be done during a later episode of the program or an appropriate website.

    http://www.freetv.com.au/media/Code_of_Practice/Fact_Sheet_CODE_OF_PRACTICE_OVERVIEW.pdf

    and from the ACMA's code of Practice (emphasis mine):

    - accuracy, fairness and privacy in news and current affairs;
    http://www.acma.gov.au/Industry/Broadcast/Television/TV-content-regulation/commercial-television-code-of-practice-tv-content-regulation-i-acma

    If you believe 7 News' coverage of this story is inaccurate, unfair, makes untrue suggestions (i.e. the 'illegality' and 'hacker' allegations) especially against the mod itself, the LSPDFR community or creators of the mods, then you should write a formal complaint. Link back to this article & 7's coverage, and list every scene of the original coverage that contains inaccurate portrayal or misrepresents the situation.

    Also note that 7's complaints page directs complainers to FreeTV Aus:
    https://au.news.yahoo.com/contact-complaints/

    Last edited 22/02/17 11:58 am

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