Bay of Plenty Police notes the findings of an IPCA report into the use of Taser in the arrest of a man in Whakatane in December 2011.
The man failed to stop for police and then resisted arrest, charges he later pleaded guilty to at court. The IPCA found that the officer was justified in using OC Spray on the individual, but concluded that the officer’s use of the Taser was excessive and contrary to law.
Following the incident Police conducted a criminal investigation and sought legal advice in regard to the actions of the officer. The decision not to prosecute was made following that rigorous process. Police then considered the matter in the employment context, as is usual in such matters.
“We fully accept that the actions of the officer when using the Taser didn’t meet the high standards we expect,” said Bay of Plenty District Commander, Superintendent Glenn Dunbier. “However we are satisfied his actions were not the result of any ill will or malicious intent.
“Our staff confront incredibly difficult and emotive situations on a daily basis and are making split second judgements and decisions without issue. We accept that the officer’s judgement on occasion was flawed. He has learnt from that situation and responded well to remedial action.
“We note the IPCA's recommendation about disciplinary action. However the public rightly expects police to deal with these issues in a timely manner and we initiated remedial action through the employment process some time ago. Anyone involved in employment matters will understand that in good faith we cannot take different action now.”
Between the national rollout of the Taser on 22 March 2010 and 30 June 2012 (which incorporates the date of the incident in question) Taser was deployed in Bay of Plenty 192 times. In 167 (87%) of those incidents the situation was successfully de-escalated without the need to discharge the Taser.
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