A new option may emerge giving Australian Police officers a new toy to wrap up (literally) a suspect without causing harm to the individual. It’s called a Bolawrap, almost like a Spider-Man-type gadget that halts suspects by entangling them in cord fired from a handheld device.  This is being considered after dominating headlines in relation to the dangers of tasers being used during arrests. It was recently reported that, a man died in a Police incident after being tasered three times in two minutes.  A Taser fires two small dart-like electrodes which attach to the suspect and shock them with an electric current.

The device is a welcome alternative to being shot by a police gun or a Taser.

To see a demonstration of how the Bolawrap works, click here.


9 News reported that, the US-designed BolaWrap 100 restraint is being considered as a painless alternative in some situations to the Taser stun gun. “It’s like throwing handcuffs on someone from a distance,” Tom Smith, president of Wrap Technologies and founder of Taser, told nine.com.au. He said the technology could prove valuable for police confronted by people under the influence of drugs or those with mental illness who need to be restrained.

“The BolaWrap 100 device ensures a safe distance can be kept between a suspect and a person trying to detain them; it does not inflict pain which can often escalate a situation, and it allows time for negotiation and de-escalation in a safe environment,” Mr Smith said.

The restraint has been demonstrated to police in NSW, Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia, and Tasmania as well as to officers from the Australian Federal Police.

Police in the US, New Zealand and Britain have also been given demonstrations.

Even on the front line of law enforcement, not all police officers are authorised to carry the devices.

The BolaWrap 100 is powered by a blank charge similar to a starting pistol. US police officers who have trialled it have said the noise from the device can also slow down suspects. It can discharged up to eight metres from the target.

“The BolaWrap 100 is certainly a welcome alternative to the service revolver and the Taser. It is clearly preferable to Tasers in the sense that it does not inflict continuous pain on the apprehended person,” Eugene Schofield-Georgesen, the council’s vice-president, said.

But he stressed the device should only be used “as a tool of last resort” in accordance with police guidelines.

Mr Smith said the BolaWrap 100 had received “positive feedback” from Australian police and further demonstrations were planned next month.


During an arrest, Conducted Electrical Weapon, or ‘Taser,’ is an option police can use in situations where there is ‘high risk’ of serious injury.

Its purpose is to protect human life, prevent bodily harm, or diffuse a violent confrontation. A Taser shouldn’t be used to stop someone from running, or as pain compliance.

They release 50,000 volts when the probes penetrate skin and cause Neuromuscular Incapacitation. Unfortunately, in some instances the shock can be deadly.

The probes release five second rounds but can be used to ‘drive stun’ if ineffective.

A Taser can’t be activated without the in-built camera and microphone activating.

If used, footage is uploaded to a server and provides evidence in the matter.

It shows exactly where the target was standing, what was said by everyone and whether use of the device was warranted. If footage shows a person being compliant, surrendering or trying to run from officers and getting tasered in the back, that is typically seen as a big fail by police.


In 2008 an indigenous man made international headlines after he was repeatedly tasered by two West Australian policemen. Kevin John Spratt, who died earlier this year in non-suspicious circumstances, cried out as he was tasered 13 times after refusing a strip-search.

Four years later Brazilian student Roberto Laudisio Curti died in central Sydney after several officers discharged their Tasers at him 14 times and used capsicum spray, handcuffs and batons to restrain him.


An officer’s power to place someone under arrest lies in the Law Enforcement Powers and Responsibilities Act (LEPRA) 2002.

If the officer suspects on reasonable grounds that a person has committed or is committing an offence, they may arrest them. Reasons include:

  • Repeating an offence or committing another offence
  • To stop them from fleeing the officer or location of offence
  • To determine the person’s identity
  • To ensure they appear before court in relation to the offence
  • To obtain property relating to an offence if it’s in the person’s possession
  • To preserve evidence or prevent fabrication of evidence
  • To prevent harassment or interference of a person who may give evidence relating to an offence (victim, witness, etc)
  • To protect safety and welfare of any person including the arrested person
  • Because of the nature and seriousness of the offence

As you can see, these can be interpreted in different ways, so there is a variety of reasons a person may be arrested.

To read our previous blog on Police Powers, click here.

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