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.