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CSIR confirms legality of using LRAD units

Saps has purchased the LRAD-26, which can be used in the event of radio communication failure.

FILE: Police closely monitor protests in Marikana in the North West on 14 August 2012. Picture:EWN.

CAPE TOWN - The police service says the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has confirmed the legality of using a Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD).

Officials appeared before Members of Parliament (MPs) yesterday, to outline the progress of the public order policing unit with implementing recommendations by the Farlam Commission of Inquiry.

The commission was established by President Jacob Zuma following the death of 34 mineworkers at Marikina, four years ago, where police experienced difficulties with communication.

The police service has purchased the LRAD-26, which is used in the event of radio communication failure.

One of the Farlam Commission's recommendations was that protocol be developed for communication purposes during protests.

The police's Elias Mawela says the portable hailing device will allow officers to communicate at a distance of more than five-meters away from protesting crowds. He adds it also sets off a siren which can be used to disperse rowdy crowds.

"That sound is irritating in the ear, and once you are exposed to that particular sound for a longer period you may feel drowsy. Yesterday we received a report from CSIR, and they feel that if we use it correctly, at the correct distance, it will not cause any health issues to people."

Officers are being trained on how to use the device.

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