THE introduction of Tasers in the Ballarat region will provide an important “tool in the arsenal” to fight crime, Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Ken Lay said yesterday.
Mr Lay told reporters in Melbourne that stun gun trials in Bendigo and Morwell were continuing, and that the introduction of Tasers in Ballarat and Geelong would take place mid-year.
“These trials didn’t occur in these areas by chance,” he said.
“We know that many of our police are threatened and assaulted and face very difficult circumstances in these areas and ... in the very near future we’ll be making a bid to government to continue the roll-out right across country Victoria.”
Following recent deaths in New South Wales and other states, Mr Lay said the weapons attracted community concern.
“I understand they are quite confronting and can be quiet offensive to some people, but Tasers are a very effective tool to reduce the number of police who are hurt or assaulted.”
Mr Lay said he would watch the reaction in country towns to assess the roll-out.
Mr Lay also praised the TAC road safety campaign Talk the Toll Down.
Launched by Premier Ted Baillieu in Ballarat last year, the campaign seeks to increase awareness of dangerous driving in regional Victoria.
“We know that by talking about the road toll, and by advertising it, by newspapers talking about it, by people seeing blue shirts and flashing blue lights out on the road, the results will see a difference,” Mr Lay said.