An increasing number of violent run-ins has sparked a move to arm officers with Tasers.
Bacchus Marsh police are among the first to be equipped with conductive energy devices (Tasers) as part of a regional rollout at 24-hour police stations.
The rollout follows extensive trials of officers being equipped with the devices in early 2016.
Victorian deputy commissioner Wendy Steendam said that general duties and highway patrol officers would carry the conductive energy devices, giving them more non-lethal options to resolve incidents involving violent offenders or those threatening self-harm.
“Unfortunately over recent years there has been an increase in the number of incidents where police have been confronted by armed and violent people and those who are drug or alcohol affected,” Ms Steendam said. “These are often physical confrontations where police, members of the community and the individuals themselves are at risk of being injured.
“Once our officers are trained in their use, Tasers can provide an additional tactical option to help resolve some of these high risk incidents.”
Ms Steendam said the devices could only be used in situations where police believed it would prevent death or serious injury. “In many cases, the presentation of a Taser alone can help to safely defuse a situation,” she said.
Officers must undertake a two-day course before being able to carry the devices. Officers are already trained in negotiation and communicating techniques and general operational tactics and safety training.
Ms Steendam said Victoria police would continue to have strict accountability to monitor and record the use of the devices, including video recording when one was presented and deployed.
Police at 36 stations, including Bacchus Marsh, will have tasers by the time the rollout is complete in mid-2018.