Ms Patten(Northern Metropolitan) — My question is to the Honourable Steve Herbert, representing our new Minister for Police. Recent reports by the ABC and other news outlets suggest that Victoria Police has purchased long-range acoustic devices (LRADs), or sound weapons. They can be used as tools for long-range communication but have also been used as weapons for crowd control. The devices were used against protesters in Pittsburgh, USA, during the G20 summit, leaving one protester with permanent hearing damage.
The use policy for these weapons is not publicly available through the Victoria Police manual, and news outlets have reported being denied permission to see the guidelines on the nature and circumstances of the LRAD deployment. Can the minister tell me: how many times in the last 12 months have these devices been used by Victoria Police?
Ms Patten (Northern Metropolitan) — I thank the minister for his answer and look forward to that. Melbourne University sound and law expert James Parker says potential use of the long-range acoustic devices in Australia is deeply troubling, particularly if the principles of their use are kept secret. Regardless of whether these devices are intended to operate as tools for communication or as crowd control, it is vital that the guidelines for their use be accessible. Given that VicPol releases guidelines around the use of force associated with firearms, capsicum spray, batons, handcuffs and tasers, will the police minister, in the interests of transparency and accountability, give an undertaking to publicly release guidelines around Victoria Police’s use of long-range acoustic devices?