Police union pushes for tasers after incidents at Epping and Lilydale

Broadcast on 3AW on 16 September 2020

The police union is calling for more police to carry tasers after two people who were experiencing mental health episodes were seriously injured by police in separate incidents this week.

Yesterday, a police shooting at Lilydale unfolded live on Neil Mitchell’s program.

It comes after footage of police allegedly ramming a man with a car and stomping on his head in Epping surfaced earlier this week.

In the case of the Lilydale incident, the police on the scene were not armed with tasers and those who did have tasers didn’t arrive until after two police members had shot a man.

Police union secretary Wayne Gatt has today revealed the police at Epping did have tasers, but they weren’t charged.

“They had been discharged at a mental health crisis just prior and they were on their way back to the office to have those tasers restored,” he told Neil Mitchell.

Yesterday, when asked why more police aren’t carrying tasers, Deputy Commissioner Neil Paterson said they already carrying too much equipment.

“They’re almost like pack-horses at the moment with the amount of equipment they’re carrying out there,” he said.

“We know that the sheer volume of equipment causes injuries to our members and we need to manage the injuries.”

But Mr Gatt disagrees.

“I tell you what else our members have to carry: they have to carry the burden that comes with pulling the trigger after a shooting,” he said.

“I’d rather be carrying equipment that might give me an opportunity to use a different … force that’s less than lethal.”

Mr Gatt said Victoria Police has about 600 tasers, far fewer than the NSW Police’s 4500.

“It’s not right,” he said.