The Australian Federal Police (AFP) has endorsed the provision of 15 additional electrical incapacitant devices (EIDs), or Tasers, to ACT Policing’s most experienced frontline officers following a review of its use-of-force options.
From August 22, 2011, Tasers will be issued to trained, substantive ACTP Sergeants only, effectively providing three units for each police station in the ACT.
ACT Policing will become the sixth Australian State or Territory police service to equip its frontline officers with Tasers, although tactical police in every Australian jurisdiction now carry them.
Tasers were introduced to the ACT for specialist-trained tactical officers in 2004. The recommendation to issue Tasers to senior General Duties police follows a four-month review by ACT Policing.
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Chief Police Officer for the ACT Roman Quaedvlieg said 15 units was appropriate, enabling officers to better protect themselves, their team members and the community.
“Tasers have become a legitimate use-of-force option for police to de-escalate violent situations, and can be vital in ensuring our officers are safe while conducting their frontline duties,” Chief Police Officer Quaedvlieg said.
“A review has been completed and there are clear operational benefits which include a high-deterrence factor against violence, immediate incapacitation in threatening situations, the ability to deploy a Taser at a safe distance and the safety of our officers as well as the public.”
The Tasers will be issued to operational on-duty Sergeants who must first complete international-standard training. All other ACT police officers will receive familiarisation training to ensure they can provide appropriate support in the event a Taser is deployed.
ACT Policing currently has 46 Tasers: 34 issued to Specialist Response and Security (SRS) and 12 for training purposes.
“The additional Tasers will be in the hands of highly-experienced and trained officers who are accustomed to using their professional judgment to ascertain the best use-of-force options,” Chief Police Officer Quaedvlieg said.
The implementation of the additional Tasers will be reviewed by the AFP’s Operational Safety Committee.