Monday, 17 September 2018 - 1:46pm |
National News

Police release 2017 Tactical Options Research report

2 min read

Frontline policing is a dynamic, unpredictable and occasionally volatile environment, where Police and the public can come into contact with highly-charged situations. In order to protect public safety, and where appropriate and necessary, Police are sometimes required to use force.

Every time a police officer uses force – through tactical options such as baton, OC spray, empty hand tactics, TASER, and firearms – that use is reported in a Tactical Options Report. These reports are collected in the Tactical Options Reporting Database and made publicly available every year via the NZ Police Tactical Options Report.

Use of force is a significant Police power, and in recognition of this Police provides accountability through its routine reporting of this environment; however, it is also a rarely used power in the context of all policing business. In 2017, there were more than 3.5 million formally reported interactions between Police and the public. Of these, police staff reported approximately 4,500 events where tactical options were used.

The 2017 NZ Police Tactical Options Research Report contains a variety of information about use of force and outcomes in the past year, including that: 

• The most commonly used options were empty hand tactics in 39% of TOR events, handcuffs and other restraints in 34%, and OC spray in 32%.

• TASER was used at 26% of TOR events. In most instances that usage was show only (that is presentation, laser painting, and/or arcing). That is to say, in 2017, TASER was discharged at 186 events and presented at a further 1,003. This is a 5:1 show to discharge ratio; demonstrating that, where used, TASER is most likely to be deployed in ‘show’ mode only.

• Firearms were reported to have been used at 6% of TOR events. In most instances the use of firearms was in presentation mode only. On 10 occasions a firearm was discharged by Police. Four of these were miss events, three caused non-fatal injuries, and three were fatal.

• In 2017, Police undertook significant work on firearms reporting within the TOR database, to improve the comprehensiveness and real-time reporting of this data. In late 2017, the Fatalities/Shooting Injury Form was introduced. The form ensures real-time coverage of high-significance use of force events that have historically not been captured within reporting data. From the 2018 reporting year on, these changes will improve the comprehensiveness of police firearms fatality and injury data.

• Most TOR events do not result in a reported injury. In 2017 Police staff were injured at 12% of events, and those on whom force was used were injured in 18%. These proportions are almost identical to previous years.

Caution should be exercised if comparing TOR data between Police Districts, as many factors, which can vary between districts, influence use of force.


The full report can be found here

Issued by the Police Media Centre