March 10, 2011
Patrick Rocca, ABC News
New figures reveal taser usage by Western Australian police has plummeted since changes to the force's policy on their use.
In December last year the Police Commissioner Karl O'Callaghan changed the taser use policy to stipulate that officers only use the weapons to prevent serious injury.
The change was introduced as an interim measure and will mean officers have to believe they are at risk of serious injury before using a taser.
It came in the wake of video evidence released by the Corruption and Crime Commission showing Kevin Spratt being tasered dozens of times while in police custody.
In the two months to December, tasers were drawn a total of 148 times by police.
But in the two months since the new policy was implemented, the weapons have been drawn just 82 times.
There has also been a drop in how often police have actually discharged the tasers, from 62 in the lead up to December, to just 21 in the two months to the 31st of January.
The Commissioner says the figures show a change in the attitudes and behaviour of police.
"We've seen a 60 per cent reduction in the use of tasers since the introduction of that policy, " he said.
He says the figures show officers are adhering to the policy and adjusting the way they respond to offenders.
"I think police officers are now thinking about their deployment a lot more and we are not seeing an increase or a corresponding increase in the number of assaults on police, " he said.
He says he is not alarmed by the figures.
"We have been seeing this right across Australia since the introduction of tasers, police forces have been adjusting their policy to make sure it's properly controlled," he said.
"At this stage the statistics are quite new statistics so we need to be quite careful about the long term but we have seen quite a significant reduction in the first two months after the introduction of the policy."
WELCOME to TRUTH ... not TASERS
Thursday, March 10, 2011
March 10, 2011