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New territory Tasers to be fitted with cameras

Date

Christopher Knaus

The new X2 Taser model.

The new X2 Taser model. Photo: Supplied

The use of Tasers by the territory's police will now be video recorded, with the force rolling out a new camera-equipped weapon from Friday. A new Taser model, which allows video and audio recording, has been purchased for use across the Australian Federal Police, including ACT Policing.

High-definition cameras will now record the moments leading up to a Taser use, and will be triggered when the officer flicks the weapon's safety switch.

It is a move designed to ensure improved accountability and transparency around Taser use, and will complement internal reviews, conducted each time the weapons are drawn or discharged.

Acting Deputy Chief Police Officer Paul Shakeshaft told The Canberra Times Taser cameras would also help to de-escalate dangerous confrontations, while also helping to provide a clearer picture of the circumstances surrounding their use.

''We can get a true account of what has actually happened and the lead-up to a volatile situation,'' Acting Commander Shakeshaft said.

''And that works both ways. If there are claims by either side of some inappropriateness or bad behaviour on our part, or on an alleged offender's part, there's the

video evidence to show what has actually happened,'' he said.

The vision will not usually be made public, and is designed mainly for internal accountability purposes.

ACT Policing purchased new Tasers for sergeants only last year, introducing the weapons to the force's frontline for the first time in the territory's history in August last year. This new model was not available when ACT Policing first purchased Tasers for frontline sergeants last year, Commander Shakeshaft said.

The total cost of upgrading ACT Policing's Taser arsenal is unclear, and it is also unclear what will happen with the old models.

''We're part of the whole rollout for the AFP, so although we're ACT Policing, we're being caught up with the rest of the AFP, and the other operational areas that are rolling out Tasers as well,'' Commander Shakeshaft said. ''So there's no cost from an ACT government perspective for these, and there's no impact on our localised budget.''

The debate surrounding the controversial weapons heated up earlier this year, after Brazilian student Roberto Laudisio Curti died following multiple Taser discharges by police in Sydney.

NSW Police were also slammed by the state's Ombudsman for their inappropriate Taser use in October, finding officers had misused Tasers at a rate of one in seven deployments.

A similar report, completed by the ACT Ombudsman, found that just over half of ACT officers were negotiating with targets before drawing their Taser.

5 comments

  • And the baddies will have camera's on their guns and knives and big sticks and machettes and broken bottles and glasses.

    You know similar to a move designed to ensure improved accountability and transparency of the police that will do the same for the baddies.

    For gods sake, lets ban camera's, phones with camera's and the media and let the police do their job properly and I will bet you London to a brick the drama's drop by 90%.

    Commenter
    Nitro Gangster
    Location
    ACT
    Date and time
    December 21, 2012, 10:21AM
    • Ah yes, yet another recording device to inexplicably fail to work when the police are wrong.

      Sorry, your Honour, we seem to have....

      Commenter
      Evanism
      Date and time
      December 21, 2012, 11:19AM
      • Isn't it great to see our men and women of the Police being so strongly held to account. I am sure these cameras will be invaluable for the pollies and so called academics who sit in judgement of split second decisions made by our Police from heir comfy air conditioned, offices over a latte.
        Meanwhile labor-greens pander to prisoners supporting their illegal substance abuse in our 5 star luxury jail with a needle exhange. Lets not forget their 'rights' to have internet access so they can run their child porn rings.
        Have we really lost the plot as a society so much? Can anyone really take labor-greens seriously?

        Commenter
        pete
        Date and time
        December 21, 2012, 12:17PM
        • I think you're the one that's lost the plot, Pete. Tasers are dangerous and open to abuse, even with cameras attached. They should be banned. Let's have a return to policing by consent, not through fear and weapons.

          Commenter
          yumq
          Location
          CBR
          Date and time
          December 21, 2012, 3:01PM
      • Simple...Don't act like a maniac in front of the Police and you won't ever get Tasered.
        I've never seen on COPS someone get Tasered who didn't well & truly need it.
        Taser's save the lives of those who otherwise might get a couple well, or poorly aimed 9mm's to the body mass.

        Commenter
        dusty
        Date and time
        December 23, 2012, 8:45PM
        Comments are now closed
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