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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Australia: Sergeant could lose job over Taser initiation rituals

October 21, 2010
WA News

A former Rockingham police sergeant will have to fight to save his job following an investigation into bizarre claims of Taser initiation rituals of junior officers.

The 53-year-old senior officer was one of four police being investigated over allegations Tasers were used in initiation ceremonies on new recruits at the Rockingham police station.

The misuse of Tasers is suspected to have gone on for months and involved up to 22 complaints.

Advertisement: Story continues below The sergeant and a senior constable were stood down from duty, on full pay, while two constables were confined to office work, pending the outcome of the investigation.

The complaints, which came from within the Rockingham station, also included the use of Tasers in a general hooligan way.

The sergeant has been served with a "Loss of Confidence" notice and is now required to show cause as to why Police Commissioner Karl O'Callaghan should not sack him.

He has 21 days to reply and his response will then undergo an extensive review process before a final decision is reached.

The sergeant has been a member of the WA Police for more than 36 years.

The internal investigation into the conduct of a senior constable involved in the same matter is continuing.

The two contables were considered to have committed only a minor role in the Taserings and underwent internal disciplinary action. This can take the form of fines and/or counselling, but police would not reveal what punishments were received in this case. Both have resumed full active duties.

WA Police recently made international headlines over the Tasering of an Aboriginal man 13 times in August 2008.

Damning internal footage of the East Perth watch house showed nine officers Taser Kevin Spratt, as he lay on the ground screaming in agony.

The matter, which police acknowledged was indefensible, has been referred to the Director of Public Prosecutions to investigate whether any officers should be charged over the incident and police are also holding an internal inquiry.

However Mr O'Callaghan has stopped short of saying that Tasers should be banned from the force.

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