More Tasers for Vic Police and PSOs very concerning

The announcement this week that some ten thousand more frontline police and protective services officers (PSOs) in Victoria will be equipped with Tasers is very concerning, according to a coalition of Victorian legal and community services groups.

“Given recent examples of police misuse of weaponry, like capsicum spray, and cases of serious injury and deaths caused by Tasers, this is a risky and concerning decision,” said Jeremy King, spokesperson for the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA).

“There is a real risk that there will be misuse of Tasers down the line, and there will likely be a death as a result of their misuse.

“There are also questions around the role of PSOs in general and whether it is appropriate for PSOs to have weapons that can lead to the use of lethal force.”

The Australian Lawyers Alliance, Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service, Human Rights Law Centre and the Police Accountability Project have joined forces to write to the Victorian Attorney-General with concerns about this announcement.

“We are particularly concerned about the increasing and disproportionate use of Tasers against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, which reflects the ongoing over-policing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Victoria generally,” said Sarah Schwartz, spokesperson, Victorian Aboriginal Legal Services.

“The money spent on these Tasers would be much better invested in prevention strategies, mental health resources and training police in de-escalation.”


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