A couple of decades ago nearly every police officer carried an extendable baton, commonly called an “extendo,” when performing his or her duties. Later, after police forces stopped supplying them, they became “optional equipment” that police officers have to purchase for themselves. Now, however, the National Police Agency has decided that extendable batons are convenient to use and police officers have a real need for them, so it has issued an order to police bureaus around Taiwan telling them that the batons are an essential item of equipment that each bureau must purchase so that every officer can have one.
The Chiayi County Police Bureau has over 1,000 officers who go out on front-line duty. With support from the county government, the bureau has allocated a budget for the purpose and will invite tenders for purchasing 1,300 improved extendable batons at a price of about NT$300 apiece. Each baton weighs 530 grams and can be instantly extended with a flick of one wrist. The three-section batons are 65 centimeters long, but when retracted they are only 25 centimeters in length. They are made of tempered steel tubing and can be conveniently carried in a baton pouch attached to an officer’s duty belt.
An instructor in the county police bureau’s training section says that the advantage of extendable batons is their convenience. When people get disorderly, extendable batons make it easy for police officers to restrain them. They are used in the same way as ordinary police batons, and officers receive regular training in their use. Extendable batons are designated as a police weapon, so anyone who wants to make them or own one must get permission from a police department. Security guards also have to obtain a license to use them. Carrying such a baton without a permit is an offense under the Social Order Maintenance Act and punishable by a prison term of up to three days or a fine of up to NT$18,000.(Liberty Times, translated by Julian Clegg)
Photo: Wu Shih-tsung, liberty Times
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