• Major new investment in community safety for regional Victoria
• 580 new tasers to be rolled out to all 24 hour police stations across regional Victoria
• The Coalition Government is building a better and safer Victoria
Minister for Police and Emergency Services Kim Wells today announced that the Victorian Coalition Government will provide $13.5 million for the rollout of tasers to all 24 hour police stations across regional Victoria.
Mr Wells said that following successful trials in six major regional centres, the Coalition Government will provide funding to rollout 580 new tasers to 29 regional areas.
These include Ballarat, Bendigo, Geelong, Traralgon, Bairnsdale, Horsham, Mildura, Portland, Hamilton, Sale, Shepparton, Wodonga, Warrnambool and Wangaratta.
“This is a major investment in community safety for rural and regional Victoria and part of the Coalition Government’s commitment to building a safer Victoria,” Mr Wells said.
“Police are often called to respond to violent and dangerous situations involving people who are affected by drugs or alcohol, or who are otherwise at risk of causing harm to police, the community and themselves.
“This announcement will provide regional police officers with modern equipment, and an alternative option to firearms, helping them to manage these complex situations and to minimise the risk of serious injury and fatalities.”
Mr Wells said police officers on two-person general duties, highway patrol, special operations groups and critical incident response teams will now carry tasers.
“The use of tasers has so far been restricted to Victoria Police specialist units and selected trial regional centres, but there is a clear need for police on general duties to have their own access,” Mr Wells said.
Tasers were first trialled in Victoria in July 2010 in Bendigo and Morwell, then extended to Traralgon and Moe in 2012 and Geelong and Ballarat in 2013.
Mr Wells said the Coalition Government is investing record levels of funding in Victoria Police, enabling them to keep communities safer.
“The Coalition Government is on track to fulfilling its commitment to deliver 1700 additional frontline police by November this year at a cost of $602 million,” Mr Wells said.
“Today, there are 1,300 more police protecting the community than when Labor left office in November 2010.
“This represents the single largest law enforcement recruitment exercise in Victoria’s history.”
Mr Wells said the use of tasers was subject to stringent Victoria Police controls, which include the review of all incidents where a taser has been used. Police officers will be required to undertake training to ensure weapons are employed correctly.
Media contact: Jess Jackson 0437 422 048