Page 3362 - Week 08 - Wednesday, 17 August 2011

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obligations in relation to this resolution by reporting to the Assembly this afternoon on the decision and the reasons for it.

MS BRESNAN: A supplementary.

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Ms Bresnan.

MS BRESNAN: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Minister, in making the decision to expand the use of tasers, what specific concerns did you raise with the AFP and what evidence was provided to you to overcome those concerns?

MR CORBELL: I will be outlining all of these issues in my statement this afternoon, as I am obliged to do as a result of the resolution of the Assembly last year. But I need to make a couple of points very clear. The first is that the decision to implement this technology as a use of force option for ACT Policing sergeants is an operational decision of the Chief Police Officer and the AFP Commissioner. But in the spirit and in recognition of the particular arrangements that occur here in the ACT, in that we have a contract for the delivery of policing services, I, the AFP Commissioner and the Chief Police Officer have agreed, in advance of any decision being taken, that there would be consultation with me, as the responsible ACT minister, and that my agreement would be sought before any final rollout occurred. And that is exactly what has occurred in this case.

In relation to the types of issues that I have sought clarity on and further advice on, I will invite members to listen to my statement after question time today.

MS LE COUTEUR: A supplementary, Mr Speaker.

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Ms Le Couteur.

MS LE COUTEUR: How did the review consider the Western Australian evidence that tasers cause increased harm, and what other evidence is there within the report that suggests that there is an increased risk to public safety from the expanded use of tasers?

MR CORBELL: ACT Policing have looked very closely at the experience of all jurisdictions in terms of the rollout of tasers. I note that the Western Australian example is being used by the Greens, but of course what the Greens should also understand is that in Western Australia tasers are deployed to every front-line officer. That is not what is being proposed here in the ACT. The rollout is being deployed to front-line operational sergeants—that is, approximately 15 additional devices being made available to ACT Policing. To compare that with a statewide rollout of thousands and thousands of front-line police officers, where every police officer from constable upwards gets a taser, is simply a misleading and incorrect comparison. That suggestion has no basis in fact.

Further, I would put to the Assembly very strongly that, if there is an alternative use of force option available to police that does not involve the use of a firearm, that surely is a positive development for community safety. That is certainly the view that the government takes.

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