INDEPENDENT NEWS

Front line police to carry Tasers on their person

Published: Fri 31 Jul 2015 12:22 PM
Front line police to carry Tasers on their person
Lef to right: Police Association President Greg O’Connor and Police Commissioner Mike Bush. Photo: Jeremy Wilkinson
Frontline police will now be allowed to carry Tasers on their person as a result of a policy change effective from today.
Prior to today’s change Tasers were kept in the police vehicle for access only if an officer was threatened.
The Police Commissioner, Mike Bush, announced the change in a press conference held this morning in Wellington.
“This important change is about enhancing the safety of New Zealand communities, police staff and offenders.”
“There are currently 5,500 staff trained in level one response, however it’s clear from the substantial research and evidence collated over the last 5 years that the time is now right for us to take this step and move to routine carriage of Taser.”
Bush said the decision is backed by police research conducted since Tasers were first introduced as a police tool in March 2010.
The use of Tasers will be confined to appropriately trained staff whose roles put them in situations where easier access to a Taser is necessary.
Bush said Tasers play a vital role in de-escalating conflict and has a lower rate of injury than other tools such as the baton, pepper spray or dogs.
“Our data shows that for every nine times a Taser is presented, it is only fired once.”
The process to consider the change has been underway since late 2014 and involved discussions with external community groups, police staff as well as discussions with the police association.
Police Association President Greg O’Connor said officers heading to work will be much happier.
“The options police currently use such as police dogs and batons often leave injuries which the Taser does not.”
“Police officers will be able to go to work with a new tool in their belt that is readily available, not in the car, where in incidents in the past have shown it is simply too far away to be effective.”
The policy change is effective from today but implementation could take a few weeks.
Police demonstrate how a Taser is used: First they are shown the laser, then the actual spark on the front of the Taser, then they are shot with a 50,000 volt cartridge.
Audio Here:
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ENDS

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