Friday 18 September 2020

        

Lilydale incident highlights Labor’s failure on tasers and mental health

 

Local MP, Bridget Vallence, was deeply saddened to learn of Tuesday’s unfortunate police shooting in Lilydale. This incident yet again highlighted the double failure of the Andrews Labor Government to properly resource police and provide adequate mental health care for the most vulnerable in our society.

 

This could have been avoided if there was adequate mental health support for Victorians, and, if the officers faced with this difficult situation had vital training to deal with mental health incidents and been equipped with tasers. Tasers are an important tool for police to safely and non-fatally deal with situations such as the one at the Lilydale Marketplace.

 

This incident has triggered renewed calls from Victorian Police Association Secretary Wayne Gatt for a full rollout of tasers to all frontline officers across Victoria. Mr Gatt also confirmed training to deal with mental health incidents had been put on hold because of COVID-19.

 

The Victorian Liberals have long supported the resourcing of all frontline officers with tasers, including prior to the 2018 State Election and again in March 2019. Fatal shootings and escalating violence can be prevented if police are properly equipped to do their jobs.

 

The Andrews Labor Government’s failure to fully resource frontline police and mental health care has placed the safety of vulnerable Victorians and the entire community at risk.

Comments attributable to Member for Evelyn, Bridget Vallence:

 

“I was saddened to hear of the incident at the Lilydale Marketplace and concerned equally for the mental well-being of the man involved and the police officers responding.”

 

“This incident exposes the deficiency in the State’s mental health system and the failure of the Andrews Labor Government to adequately tool-up local police with training and tasers.”

 

“Tasers give police the option to address difficult situations without lethal force. Also, its completely unacceptable that vital training for police to deal with mental health incidents had been put on hold.”

 

“We have a growing mental health crisis in Victoria and police officers, who work hard to protect our community, are insufficiently equipped because of a lack of funding and failed policy decisions of Daniel Andrews and his Labor Government.”