SA Police taser deployment continues despite recent controversy

Department has guidelines in place following WA police incident

The South Australian Police rollout of 300 more tasers is going ahead despite concerns that developed when a video was released showing WA Police tasering an unarmed man 13 times.

The Australian reported that an internal police investigation found two officers used “undue and excessive force” against the man.

A SA Police spokesperson said the tasers, also known as electronic control devices (ECD), may only be deployed when an incident satisfies the criteria of a high risk situation where a person is armed with a weapon.

“The ECD is fitted with a camera that films all deployments," the spokesperson said. "It provides officers with another option to deal with high risk incidents.”

Approximately 2,100 uniform members will commence training in its use, including police recruits training at the Taperoo academy.

”It is anticipated that the training of existing general duties members will be completed within seven months,” the spokesperson said.

SA Police have been using tasers or ECDs since March 2008. Police also have an option to roll out a further 150 devices and 5100 cartridges over the 2012-2013 and 2013-22014 period.

The Special Task and Rescue (STAR) Operations have been using ECDs since May 2002. In March 2008, ECDs were first trialled in a limited capacity in local service areas (LSA).

In January 2010, ECDs were introduced to selected uniform patrol members within metropolitan LSAs, Port Augusta and Mount Gambier. A total of 150 general duties uniform members were trained in use of the ECD.

The spokesperson said the ECD rollout was not part of any wider efficiency drive taking place across the state.

“SA Police continually assesses whether there are any other suitable new technologies that could improve policing procedures.”

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