POLICE in Ballarat are being trained in the use of the new X2 Tasers and will be among the first to use the devices on a permanent basis on Victorian streets.
General duties members and Highway Patrol units from Ballarat began training to use the Conductive Energy Device (CED) last week.
A double-barrelled “dual shot” weapon, the X2 is described by the manufacturer as “designed by law enforcement for law enforcement”.
Last year, Victoria Police completed a 12-month trial of the device in Bendigo and Morwell and announced that Ballarat and Geelong would form the first stage of a statewide CED roll out.
It was first announced the roll out would begin mid-2012, but it was then delayed to November and further delayed until this year. Training for Ballarat members finally began last week, on February 4.
But a police spokesperson said the delay did not mean the original plan would be diminished in any way.
“Victoria Police is committed to a state wide roll out of CED,” the spokesperson said.
“There has been no change to this plan and we are currently focused on two-day training courses for the initial roll out of the X2 in Geelong and Ballarat.” Police say Ballarat and Geelong were selected for the first stage of the roll out for good reason. “Data showed police in those areas attend a significant number of jobs where weapons are used against police,” the spokesperson said.
“There’s a high reporting of OC (capsicum spray) use and frequent dealings with people who have mental health disorders or are affected by substance abuse.”
Police say members in Ballarat are also being trained in other ways to safely resolve situations where conflict may arise.
“The training program goes hand-in-hand with other training packages that build skills in communication, dealing with vulnerable persons and general operational tactics and safety training,” the spokesperson said.
Police in Ballarat and Geelong will have access to 30 Tasers as part of the first stage of the statewide roll out. Tasers are already being used by the Critical Incident Response Team and Special Operations Group.