Police in the Australian province of New South Wales, as well as the local media, are freaking out over a mod for Grand Theft Auto V they do not fully understand.
Essentially the mod, of which there are many varieties available online, changes the American police officers in the game to New South Wales police officers. The mod changes the cop cars and uniforms to the Australian varieties and allows you to play as a police officer. A pretty simple change that would appear noncontroversial to the average gamer.
But apparently the NSW media is labelling this the “cop kill mod,” framing it as a way to virtually train youths to kill NSW cops! You see, Grand Theft Auto is already a game which lets you kill cops. It’s an open world game that does not restrict the player in any way, allowing you to choose to be a law abiding citizen or a psychotic criminal.
The NSW state police condemned the mod and says they are actively hunting for the game’s designer in order to “take action” (whatever that means).
The 7 News Sydney expose´on the matter was even more ridiculous. It labelled the skin change mods, “underground” to add to a sense of danger and criminality. In reality, anyone can download these mods simply by googling and downloading them off a trusted website.
In the 7 News video, the police minister even made some wildly inaccurate assertions about video games and the people who play them.
“That gives the gamer a false impression about what the role of police is,” NSW Police Minister Troy Grant said. “There’s a fear that this desensitizes people to the real risk the police face and I find it offensive.”
Grand Theft Auto was already a game that was offensive to police officers, all the mods did was change the patterns on the police cars.
Multiple people have made NSW police mods for the game and it would be near impossible to track them all down, let alone prosecute. Anyone can make mods and the Grand Theft Auto’s publisher Rockstar is unable to restrict what types of mods are created for the game. Creating a mod is like painting a picture or any other act of free expression.
The Australian media and police can get as hysterical as they want, but these mods aren’t going anywhere.