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Arm Police - But Arm Them With Tasers

24 July 2008

Arm Police - But Arm Them With Tasers

The big gap in Police tactical options is Tasers, not firearms availability, Police Association President Greg O'Connor said today in response to a survey showing public support for arming police.

"Police are able to draw firearms when they are needed. The big gap in our tactical options is a less-than-lethal option that will reliably incapacitate a dangerous offender. Issuing Tasers to every primary response police officer would make a real difference to the safety of police, the public, and even offenders themselves," Mr O'Connor said.

"The survey result however is not surprising, and is a reflection of the increasingly serious violence that is being witnessed daily by police and public alike. However, our own survey of Police Association members in 2005 did not indicate a desire amongst most police to be regularly armed with firearms.

"That is not surprising. Besides the personal burden of having to shoot someone, an enormous amount of scrutiny and trial-by-media follows whenever a police officer is required to use lethal force. It would be interesting to see whether the same 53% of the public would stand in support of officers who are forced to use firearms with fatal consequences.

"Police today are almost more afraid of having to use lethal force, than they are of being subjected to it. That risks making our police tentative in responding to dangerous and volatile situations, and a tentative police force is no use to anyone," Mr O'Connor said.


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