Shepparton police to be armed with taser devices, Victorian Police Minister Kim Wells says.DARREN LINTON April 23, 2014 3:04am
Shepparton police will be armed with tasers under a new rollout to be funded in the Victorian budget.
Tasers are electronic control devices that use an electric current to disable offenders.
Victorian Police and Emergency Services Minister Kim Wells will today announce $13.5 million is being budgeted for the rollout of tasers to all 24-hour police stations across regional Victoria.
Some 580 new tasers will be allocated to Shepparton, Ballarat, Bendigo, Geelong, Traralgon, Bairnsdale, Horsham, Mildura, Portland, Hamilton, Sale, Wodonga, Warrnambool and Wangaratta.
‘‘Police are often called to respond to violent and dangerous situations involving people who are affected by drugs or alcohol, or who are otherwise at risk of causing harm to police, the community and themselves,’’ Mr Wells said.
Mr Wells said more regional police officers would be equipped with an alternative option to firearms, helping them to manage complex situations and to minimise the risk of serious injury and fatalities.
Police officers will carry tasers as part of two-person general duties, highway patrol, special operations groups and critical incident response teams.
‘‘The use of tasers has so far been restricted to Victoria Police specialist units and selected trial regional centres, but there is a clear need for police on general duties to have their own access,’’ Mr Wells said.
Tasers were first trialled in Victoria in July 2010 in Bendigo and Morwell, then extended to Traralgon and Moe in 2012 and Geelong and Ballarat last year.
Mr Wells said the use of tasers was subject to stringent Victoria Police controls, including the review of all incidents where a taser had been used. Police officers would be required to undertake training to ensure weapons were employed correctly.
Former councillor Chris Hazelman has been elected as seventh councillor for Greater Shepparton.
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