When I was in the Assembly, as a minister for these sorts of things, I wanted to do a trial to see if TASERs were an effective alternative to firearms.
The Liberal Opposition was vehemently opposed to the whole idea saying that the TASERs would kill more people from heart attacks than the conventional weapons carried by front line police officers.
I wanted to take the advice of the police themselves and also the interstate experience.
In the end, a successor minister ok’d the carrying of TASERs by sergeants with the development of protocols to make sure that they were not abused.
Enter the Diving Champions of the Assembly in recent times. Double backflip with pike!
The Libs now want all front line police officers to carry TASERs. Heavens, they are difficulty to predict and to work with in the interests of community safety.
My position though, is akin to those who want the firearms taken from police. The use of lethal force is really unnecessary in this town. There are other ways of subduing people if need be.
My position is drawn from the experience of a good mate of mine who lived in Chapman and was shot by police during a mental health episode. If the police had TASERs he would not be paraplegic now.
Word limits don’t allow me to go into this into much detail but I feel two frustrations. The first is that the Libs could have been more helpful earlier and not just grandstanding and the second is that I foresee the time when another person is killed or crippled unnecessarily in this town.
TASERs do have the potential to kill but they are not as guaranteed as a Glock! In the hands of the wrong and untrained they can be lethal some of the time. But Glocks have the potential to be lethal all of the time.
I just don’t reckon the level of crime in Canberra justifies the carrying of weapons by police everywhere, including to schools and in shopping centres.