Tasers being reintroduced to trial Districts

Tasers being reintroduced to trial Districts

National News

Police have begun the reintroduction of tasers to those Districts involved in the trial in 2006/07.

Taser Project Manager Superintendent John Rivers said the first phase of the reintroduction of the tasers has begun with selected AOS staff in the greater Auckland area and Wellington having completed training and certification in the operation of the technology.

"This is the first stage in the roll out of the taser as an additional tactical option for police following the decision by the Commissioner Howard Broad in August to reintroduce tasers," said Superintendent Rivers.

The decision to deploy the taser was based on a year-long trial followed by an independently reviewed evaluation of the trial and analysis of international experience and best practice, particularly in the UK, in the operational effectiveness of the taser.

"Selected general duties staff in the trial Districts will commence training in February 2009, with the technology being available for deployment from that time.

New technology with the introduction of tasercam, an audio and video recording capability attached to each taser will assist with accountability whilst additional mandated reporting requirements will ensure accurate data on the operational use of the taser is recorded.

Stringent instructions have been developed based on the findings of the trial. These provide very clear operating guidelines and, in the event of any inappropriate use of the taser, set down procedures for action to be taken.

The taser will not be routinely carried by police officers, they instead will be required to obtain permission from their supervisor or a Communications Centre supervisor, prior to taking the taser to an incident.

Before the application of a taser the officer involved must have an honest belief that the subject (offender), by age, size, apparent physical ability, threats made, or a combination of these, is capable of carrying out the threat posed and that the use of the taser is warranted.

"We are very conscious of the need to reassure people that this new less-lethal technology is designed to provide greater safety not only for police staff but also members of the community when dealing with violent incidents," said Superintendent Rivers.

ENDS