Taser use

January 6th, 2013 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Rob Kidd at SST reports:

A disproportionate number of people with mental health issues are being stung by , figures show.

Since the nationwide rollout of Tasers in March 2010, they have been drawn by police officers 1320 times and discharged 212 times.

The battery-powered stun guns fire electric barbs, which penetrate a person’s skin and deliver a shock of up to 50,000 volts.

Numbers released under the Official Information Act show nearly a third of those hit were considered by police to have mental health issues.

Mental Health Foundation chief executive Judi Clements said they had always feared those with mental health problems would be a target for officers using Tasers and the figures confirmed that.

They are not a *target*. Police do not go around the streets looking for people with mental health problems to taser.

You generally get tasered if you have a weapon of some kind, and are refusing to put it down. It is not surprising that a reasonable proportion of those tasered have mental health problems, as most people will drop a weapon if a police officer points a taser at you and tells you to drop your weapon.

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64 Responses to “Taser use”

  1. MT_Tinman (3,186 comments) says:

    To me the “facts” outlined by Mr Kidd suggest tasers are being used correctly.

    Far better someone incapable of controlling their actions is incapacitated by taser than a bullet or a truncheon.

    Clements of course is female so I expect no different.

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  2. kowtow (8,458 comments) says:

    “Disproportionate”,once again the lame stream media and the use of biased language.

    The real problem is that nutters have been thrown out of mental institutions where they belong into “community care” which doesn’t exist,to become a police problem.

    The hard right don’t like institutions cos they cost money and the left hate anything to do with “institutionalisation”.

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  3. Kea (12,820 comments) says:

    You generally get tasered if you have a weapon of some kind, and are refusing to put it down

    I am sceptical of that statement. I think that is what the Police claimed when campaigning for the right to taser people. I would like to see the figures for what is actually happening now they have them.

    It also does not fit with this:

    General Guidelines
    Police members may only use an Taser to:
    • defend themselves, or others, if they fear physical injury to themselves, or
    others, and they can not reasonably protect themselves, or others, less
    forcefully, or
    • arrest an offender if they believe on reasonable grounds that the offender
    poses a threat of physical injury and the arrest cannot be effected less
    forcefully, or
    • resolve an incident where a person is acting in a manner likely to
    physically injure themselves and the incident cannot be resolved less
    forcefully, or
    • prevent the escape of an offender if they believe on reasonable grounds
    that the offender poses a threat of physical injury to any person, and the
    escape cannot be prevented less forcefully.
    • deter attacking animals

    http://www.police.govt.nz/resources/2006/taser-trial/taser-tactical-options-card.pdf

    DPF article sounds like more propaganda for an armed state.

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  4. Scott1 (552 comments) says:

    what would be a worry is if there was NOT A disproportionate number of people with mental health issues getting tazered.

    for example if equal numbers of men amd women were getting tazered or gang members and bolwling club members were getting tazered…
    either way one would wonder what on earth the police were doing…

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  5. Longknives (4,742 comments) says:

    So a Mental Health patient who has chosen not to take his/her medication and is loaded up on drugs and booze should be exempt from a Tasering when they are waving a knife or a gun around??

    For fuck’s sake- Taser MORE of the fuckers!!

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  6. Jack5 (5,137 comments) says:

    There is no easy alternative. First, how does an arresting policeman know if a dangerously behaving person is psychotic or otherwise insane?

    Second, even if the police know of the person and are aware of his/her psychiatric history, they aren’t able to apply sedation in the way a doctor (helped by a couple of strong people) might be able to.

    Third, is a taser worse than having to be physically restrained by young, physically fit police? Remember the case where a disturbed man died in the back of a police car apparently from a misapplied choker hold?

    I certainly would hate to be tasered, but at least there is nearly always a comeback. Compare a tasering with the case of the disturbed young New Zealander drowned in a bucket of water in a Samoan jail recently. It’s also inevitable that police in NZ will return to carrying pistols routinely. Better to be tasered than shot.

    Kowtow in his 12.15 post is right in pointing out the effects of the de-institutionalisation of the mentally ill, widely promoted by liberals and their bias such as through the film One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

    Many of the the mentally ill now lead richer lives in the community, but there is a price. This includes others sleeping under bridges, being abused and used by criminals, and coming into confrontation with police and citizens.

    It would help if some mentally ill people didn’t stop taking their medication when they felt they were returning to normal, and if they didn’t take booze, cannabis etc that can clash with their medication.

    Propaganda from the likes of those flakiest of flakes, Scientologists, against psychiatry and its drugs is a bigger threat to the mentally ill than police tasers, IMHO. Petty Tom’s mob has brainwashed millions of wide-eyed, dumb-fuck liberals.

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  7. Kea (12,820 comments) says:

    Personally, I have no problem with the cops tasering mental health cases, provided the circumstances are appropriate. Eg: They have a weapon and are an immediate threat to life.

    The issue is not the offenders state of mental health, but their level of threat to the officer attending the incident. The alternative is to expect a cop to use less force, and no taser, when confronted with a weapon wielded by a crazy person, as opposed to a sane one. I think that is asking too much. Also the Police are not able to accurately assess a persons mental health and should not be expected to when dealing with a serious incident. The response should be based on the level of threat. Further assessment can be done later, after the threat is managed.

    I am totally against taser use simply to promote compliance.

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  8. Michael (909 comments) says:

    Next we’ll have an article on how the Police target criminals for arrest – seeing as so many criminals get arrested.

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  9. wreck1080 (3,908 comments) says:

    Maybe the point is that they’d rather see them shot?

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  10. Kea (12,820 comments) says:

    Fair call Michael, I doubt the Police are “targeting” those with mental health issues. It is the last thing they want to deal with.

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  11. hmmokrightitis (1,590 comments) says:

    The Police should be asking first, before they tazer “Excuse me Mr/Ms/Mrs Suspected perp, would you please be so kind as to inform us of your state of mental health? Just for the records you know.”

    Probably best they are targeting them IMHO – hate to see innocent bystanders getting caught in the cross fire on Zap-a-Looner Wednesday

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  12. dime (9,972 comments) says:

    Cops aren’t superheroes.they aren’t there to offer free hugs to these retard strong nutters.

    70 taserings a year seems low to me. He’ll I’d get past that working one union rally

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  13. thor42 (971 comments) says:

    I haven’t heard of *anyone* getting Tasered who didn’t bloody deserve it.
    I have no problem at all with violent psych patients getting tasered. It’ll wake them the FUCK up to take their medication.

    The namby-pamby limp-wristed pantywaists who are whining about this should be forced to take on these stroppy buggers themselves – bare-handed.

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  14. ChardonnayGuy (1,206 comments) says:

    I don’t deny that people with mental health problems who aren’t taking their meds, or who have developed tolerance for particular meds for particular genetic and neurochemical reasons, do need restraint if they are having a psychotic break. However, clinical evidence tends to note that they’re less of a risk than deliberate, volitional criminals who know damned well what they’re doing, but are too antisocial or dysfunctional to care. Perhaps alternative means of restraint could be found for mental health -impaired individuals who are acting out?

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  15. krazykiwi (9,186 comments) says:

    Slightly OT, but a friend of mine got back from South America yesterday. He did a day-trip into Posadas, Paraguay. Got off the bus, and the first thing he was offer for sale were guns (big guns!) and then a dodgy bloke sauntered over with a box of tasers and proceeded to demonstrate shooting these.

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  16. Colville (2,268 comments) says:

    I propose that all nut jobs should be fitted with dayglo pink ear tags (with NJ enscribed) the type used on cows so that coppers could realise who they are dealing with and take a fews seconds to think before they tase the shyte out of them. :-)

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  17. Kea (12,820 comments) says:

    krazykiwi, did you mate get of these close quarter protection devices ? ( its not the big game rifle at the start)

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  18. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    Once again Kea your lack of knowledge is startling, from time the tazer is drawn everything said is recorded by it ,when its pointed it videos who its pointed at, so if its being misused theres a giant cover up. So you see , you don’t need to see the figures its all on hard drive and that is how the PCA or its equivilant know whats occurred, nice and easy.

    And since I showed you how to find General Instructions the other day at least have the decency to be able to comprehend them.
    DPF has paraphrased as a civilian, the instructions as you listed cover most situations. If there is a scenario where someone has been tasered and it is not covered by those guidelines please put it up here .

    I am totally against taser use simply to promote compliance.,

    examples and stats of where this is occurring please or has occurred

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  19. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    Chardonnay Guy

    However, clinical evidence tends to note that they’re less of a risk than deliberate, volitional criminals who know damned well what they’re doing, but are too antisocial or dysfunctional to care.

    What? , followed by

    Perhaps alternative means of restraint could be found for mental health -impaired individuals who are acting out?

    What the fuck are you thinking? seriously. What they could do would be to shoot the loonies, save on meds!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  20. Longknives (4,742 comments) says:

    “Perhaps alternative means of restraint could be found for mental health -impaired individuals who are acting out?”

    Chardonnay- This comment astounds me. How the hell is a street cop attending an emergency call out at 3am going to know if the drunk guy yelling, screaming and threatening him and swinging a machete in his direction is ‘Mentally Impaired’??

    Surely the cop’s personal safety takes precedence?

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  21. joana (1,983 comments) says:

    Prior to the introduction of tasers , the police stated that they would take a taser to every mental health call out. How many mental health patients killed or injured members of the police before the police had access to tasers? Facts are required here.

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  22. Kea (12,820 comments) says:

    Once again Kea your lack of knowledge is startling, from time the tazer is drawn everything said is recorded by it ,when its pointed it videos who its pointed at

    There you go on that High-Horse again. I am well aware of all that.

    Loved the bit about the “General Instructions” too. Maybe you did not read my first reply on this topic. Your not really looking at what I am saying or the points I am making. What you are doing is taking a defensive position without thinking. Typical cop reaction, I might add ;)

    Perhaps alternative means of restraint could be found for mental health -impaired individuals who are acting out?

    1. How are the Police attending an incident to know about the offenders mental health?

    2. If “alternative” means are available, then they should be used anyway, regardless of the persons mental health. (ask Polly for the General Guidelines, he loves explaining that stuff)

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  23. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    Joana

    The fact is , the police on the call out should not be expected to be injured let alone killed at all. In society if the police are acting in the lawful execution of their duty in a situation there should be compliance, no buts, compliance Where you do not get compliance is when you are dealing with a nut job who thinks he’s Mork from Orks big brother and is bloody strong and violent with it. When you are dealing with the nutter you know he thinks he’s an alien but you have to deal with the situation you can’t stand around for three days until his phycotic episode is over.

    Some commentatotrs here seem to think that life is alot like TV – “stop that behaviour young man, now confess to 5 murders like CSI,” and maybe you might have to have a bit of a wrestle without a hair out of place, but again doesn’t happen

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  24. nasska (11,491 comments) says:

    Pauleastbay

    A hypothetical question…..if, as a cop, you attended a situation where someone ended coming at you with a machete, who in your opinion would be the most likely to take you out or at least cause you serious injury? The hyped up nutter off his meds or a dangerous career criminal?

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  25. duggledog (1,556 comments) says:

    Don’t worry sports fans. The Greens have a bill legalizing crime for 2014

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  26. Kea (12,820 comments) says:

    I am totally against taser use simply to promote compliance.,

    examples and stats of where this is occurring please or has occurred

    Internationally, most people tasered have no weapon. It is much the same here.

    The use of high-voltage stun guns is again in the spotlight, after an unarmed woman was shot twice with a Taser gun within the space of just a few seconds.

    The woman broke into a Titirangi home and barricaded herself in a bathroom on Tuesday evening, and although three officers were in attendance, police decided the best way to overpower and subdue her was with a Taser.

    The first shot hit the woman in the leg, and she fell to the ground, and then police confirm she was Tasered again, seconds after they failed to properly handcuff her. The Taser stun gun fires two barbed metal darts at the victim and delivers a 50,000 volt electric shock.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10430737

    An unarmed sheep shearer tasered this week has joined critics saying police use the devices far too quickly and often, as even more are set to be rolled out on the frontline.

    Close to 1000 tasers will soon be in all frontline police cars a result of a review last year, which will also see guns in patrol cars.

    Shearer Peter Papa was unarmed, though not willing to co-operate, when he was stopped and tasered by police with 50,000 volts….

    Amnesty’s study — which included information from 98 autopsies — found that 90 per cent of those who died after being struck with a Taser were unarmed and many did not appear to present a serious threat. Additionally:
    Many victims were subjected to multiple or prolonged shocks, often far more than the standard five-second cycle, despite long-standing warnings of the potential health risks of such use;
    In most cases, the deceased were reported to have gone into cardio-respiratory arrest at the scene, shortly after being shocked;
    In some cases there was no indication that the deceased had taken drugs or had underlying health problems, and they collapsed shortly after being shocked, raising further concern about the role of the Conducted Energy Device (CED);
    In many cases additional methods of restraint were applied, including methods known to impair breathing or restrict the flow of blood to the brain, creating a risk of death from asphyxia;
    Most departments permitted CEDs to be used at a level of threat well below that at which officers would be authorized to use lethal force.

    Read some of the stories here: http://www.howardleague.org.nz/?p=564

    Oh and almost forgot Polly. This is from the POLICE web site: The taser can be used by Police when dealing with:

    Unarmed (or lightly armed) but highly aggressive people,
    Individuals displaying irrational or bizarre behaviour, and
    People under the influence of mind altering substances, solvents or alcohol.

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  27. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    1. How are the Police attending an incident to know about the offenders mental health?

    Prior to my leaving the new computer system allowed details of address’s to be entered e.g 5 Smith Street, police been there 4 times in last month, being used as a half way house, guy called Kea lives there can be combative. ( I would then say fuck it, just shoot him, but thats me,)

    so, anyway ,at least you knew you were dealing with a nut job, but so what, a nut job with a big knife waving it around a room of fellow nut jobs is the same as a drunk waving a big knife around. Trouble is the nut job’s comprehension might be totally gone and the situation still needs to be resolved.

    Easy for people to say just wait it out, but trouble is now the police get so defensive they do not act, now I know nothing about the the Manurewa dairy owner who was murdered apart from the news and its easy to judge from a media report but society looses of we have a police force who feel hamstrung to act and sit outside the scene for an hour or so.

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  28. Kea (12,820 comments) says:

    Sorry Polly, here is the link: http://www.police.govt.nz/resources/2006/taser-trial/

    May pay to read what the Police say themselves, before getting all snippy with folk.

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  29. Kea (12,820 comments) says:

    Prior to my leaving the new computer system allowed details of address’s to be entered e.g 5 Smith Street, police been there 4 times in last month, being used as a half way house, guy called Kea lives there can be combative. ( I would then say fuck it, just shoot him, but thats me,)

    Polly, So how about those who make death threats ?

    Your naive faith in the “computer system” is surprising, especially for someone who claims to have had front line experience. For every known crazy, there are many more unknowns.

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  30. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    a link to 2007, Kea get better please.

    Actually you lost me when I saw Amnesty International

    Unarmed (or lightly armed) but highly aggressive people,
    Individuals displaying irrational or bizarre behaviour, and
    People under the influence of mind altering substances, solvents or alcohol.

    but they still have to comply with the general instrcutions that you so helpfully attached above. Anyway, getting to back to my point, all incidents are recorded and videoed, if things are done incorrectly the member will be dealt with becasue he has acted unlawfully.

    How many cops have been charged with unlawful discharge of the Taser?

    Nasska, hypothetically the nutter because they are insane and not normal, but you never can tell, I’d run if I could. I nearly had to shoot some one once, I say nearly because I was shaking that badly I would have caused more damage to the Ozone layer than the guy with the axe.

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  31. Rex Widerstrom (5,354 comments) says:

    People suffering from mental health issues should not be being tasered. But everyone seems to have overlooked the reason, identified very early on by kowtow:

    The real problem is that nutters have been thrown out of mental institutions where they belong into “community care” which doesn’t exist,to become a police problem.

    Nice use of the un-values-laden word “nutters” though kowtow. Mental illness isn’t something people go out looking for, or inflict on themselves through their own bad choices.

    Kowtow also identified why police are facing large numbers of people with mental health issues, absorbing a great deal of police resource and endangering people who are amongst our most vulnerable:

    The hard right don’t like institutions cos they cost money and the left hate anything to do with “institutionalisation”.

    So how many cheering the use of tasers on the mentally ill are prepared to accept that part of their duty as a citizen is to build, maintain and operate secure humane facilitiesd where such people can be treated and where they aren’t a danger to themselves and others and a drain on police, hospital A&Es and other resources?

    Or is it just the thought of a bit of state-administered torture that gets you off?

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  32. Kea (12,820 comments) says:

    How many cops have been charged with unlawful discharge of the Taser?

    How many do you think should be charged ?

    I consider the guidelines, for taser use, too liberal. That is my personal view.

    If we look at what has happened overseas, we see tasers used for compliance and punishment. I think it is going the same way here. I am not anti Police and have no issue with the Police tasering people as an alternative to shooting them. I just think it should only be used to protect from immediate danger to life and limb.

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  33. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    Kea, I gave one example of the computer, its a guide, it can help, its not niave. and its a hell of a lot better than the information given when I started Of course there are unknowns ,jesus, thats why they have tasers and pistols I only had 25 years frontline experience so maybe I missed something, but NZ police will end up overtly armed eventually, I’ll be sorry about that, but it will happen because at the moment everyone thinks its OK to have a pop, I’m not talking trying to kill the copper, just having a swing when you’ve been told to stop slapping your wife about rather than comply with a lawful request.

    A good example of what happens is the boy racers, they know that they only have to drive like a total fuck wit for about 30 seconds over 100 kmp and they can get away becasue the police will not be allowed to chase but sometimes they crash into a tree and die. They would not have died if they had pulled over. The police gave up on chasers becaseu the public belived they caused the “youth’ to crash” so the police changed the policy, gave the road to 18 year olds who think they can drive

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  34. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    Kea

    I thought you would have some numbers if the Taser is being used illegally, the papers would be full of it surely, I’m disappointed, very disappointed especially your comeback How many do you think should be charged ?. Thats empty vessel stuff, time for a bath (walks away shaking is head)

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  35. nasska (11,491 comments) says:

    Pauleastbay

    I suspected that would be the answer & understandably so. As pointed out by ‘kowtow’ & Rex society is reaping the results of the ideology pushed by Dear leader during her terms as health minister & PM.

    The Police are bearing the brunt of non existent “community care” & a near absence of secure residential facilities.

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  36. joana (1,983 comments) says:

    It is great that there are some reasoned , compassionate , humane comments on here..They are needed to balance the ugly stereotypes.

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  37. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    Rex

    The police don’t Taser the mental patient walking around Pt Chev drooling. There are many nutters out there who are fucking dangerous, they cut off their wifes heads and throw them off the harbour bridge, these are the ones that get tasered.

    I brought up the closing of the hospitals a few weeks ago with you, and we agreed there needs to be more secure facilities but fact is there’s not anyway to identify the person who has their first phycotic episode today, first ever, and he decides to run through St Lukes slashing at people with a knife, so there are many unknowns and you can not make a policy that says” nutters will not be zapped’ can’t and will never work

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  38. Kea (12,820 comments) says:

    I’m not talking trying to kill the copper, just having a swing when you’ve been told to stop slapping your wife about rather than comply with a lawful request.

    So you consider it reasonable to shoot and kill someone for “having a swing” in the heat of the moment. (Maybe he just found out his wife was fucking the neighbor while their unsupervised 5 year old got third degree burns playing with matches.)

    Do you think it is ok for the general public to gun people down, if someone takes a “swing” at them? If not why?

    Why do the public not have these same rights to protect themselves and why are the NZ Police so vocal & hysterical in opposing self defense for citizens, the most basic of all “human rights”.

    I support the cops 100% with the pursuit thing. You evade the cops and crash, then tough luck. A couple of mates have been through it. My advice is to shoulder no responsibility for the deaths. None. They were just doing what their jobs demand of them.

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  39. krazykiwi (9,186 comments) says:

    The taser can be used by Police when dealing with… Individuals displaying irrational or bizarre behaviour

    Plod needs to take his/her taser to the public gallery at parliament. It’d be like shooting fish in a barrel :D

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  40. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    No, Im not saying and did not say, shoot them for having a swing l, I said, -teh NZ Police will end up overtly armed because it is accepted in society today that its OK to have swing- what is happening is that there is now a generation out there who have no fear of the authority of our laws and our judiciary and that there will be more and more police hurt when they try to manually deal with people and really why the hell should you have to roll around in the gutter, if our laws are supported it should not be necessary

    It used to be very rare if you were making an arrest for anyone to stick their oar in. Its a violent society out there now, much more so than 30 years ago. And its not an exaggeration to say nasty drugs and huge money, enormous money, make it worth hurting a cop to stay free. I don’t know your circles but if you know a senior gangster talk about the money, what there used to be from weed and girls and property 25 years ago and what is available now to anyone with an asian connection and a meth cook.

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  41. Rex Widerstrom (5,354 comments) says:

    @Pauleastbay:

    You weren’t amongst those I thought were cheering the use of tasers. I agree it’s often hard to tell who’s psychotic, though generally I would imagine it would be fairly evident to a police officer on a call-out assuming they’d had aeven rudimentary training.

    There are many nutters out there who are fucking dangerous, they cut off their wifes heads and throw them off the harbour bridge, these are the ones that get tasered.

    The report DPF quotes says tasers have been discharged 212 times and a third of the people tasered have been mental patients.

    So you’re saying 70 people were that dangerous – that they’d already attacked someone (perhaps not cutting off their head, but seriously). I just don’t believe it, or we’df have read about it. The media couldn’t resist “Man severs wife’s head and throws it in harbour”, or even “Man threatens commuters with knife”.

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  42. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    Rex

    But the use of this thing, ( I was gone before the introduction) actually records and videos the event,I think I’m right that even if its drawn and not discharged its all recorded and then the chip has to be downloaded onto a computer and the incident is reviewed in Wellington? Thats fairly serious scrutiny, no bullshitting if you are voice recorded and the guy you shoot is eating a burger.

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  43. Kea (12,820 comments) says:

    I do not think the cops responding to an incident should be expected to assess a persons mental health. Even experts in controlled situation can not agree on that.

    But the cops do not need to concern themselves with that, if they focus on the situation and behaviour. Eg: only use a taser if they really have to.

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  44. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    Kea
    only use a taser if they really have to

    Well your lack of reports to the contrary seem to verify that they do. Now thats solved, a small problem with the New Zealand Mens Cricket team, if we could get them sorted it’ll have been a good day.

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  45. Reid (16,447 comments) says:

    And its not an exaggeration to say nasty drugs and huge money, enormous money, make it worth hurting a cop to stay free.

    So I would have thought cops would advocate the only realistic solution to the issue which is to decriminalise drugs and take the heat out of the market.

    Repeat this is the only repeat only solution which really will work.

    So why don’t the cops add their weight to the current voices since this would be a significant factor in getting it past the post?

    The only two reasons I can think of is (a) the cops like the arrest stats (b) the cops aren’t allowed to because it would “politicise” them.

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  46. Longknives (4,742 comments) says:

    My understanding is that Tasers have built-in video cameras? And every incident where a Taser is fired is automatically investigated by the IPCA?
    So how in the hell are police supposedly Tasering all these ‘innocent’ ‘harmless’ people?

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  47. Rex Widerstrom (5,354 comments) says:

    @Pauleastbay:

    I’m glad NZ has video cameras on tasers… here in WA the police claim it’d be “too expensive”, so we get TV footage of police repeatedly tasering a vagrant just to move him off the steps of the court (and so blase about their abuse of power they’re unconcerned that TV cameras are almost permanently stationed there during the day, and thus likely to record their actions).

    I really don’t know – and nor does anyone else – whether those 70 taserings of mentally ill people were justified. As I said, I can’t believe that that many incidents would meet the “immediate danger to themselves, another member of the public or the officer” test, but I could be wrong.

    As joana said above, we need more information – though the incidents noted by Kea above suggest that by no means all such incidents meet that standard.

    It’s a pity the IPCA don’t release some data, such as a brief description of the 70 incidents, so we can make a definite determination.

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  48. Kea (12,820 comments) says:

    only use a taser if they really have to

    Well your lack of reports to the contrary seem to verify that they do.

    I did actually give you a few reports to the contrary.

    The use of high-voltage stun guns is again in the spotlight, after an unarmed woman was shot twice with a Taser gun within the space of just a few seconds.

    The woman broke into a Titirangi home and barricaded herself in a bathroom on Tuesday evening, and although three officers were in attendance, police decided the best way to overpower and subdue her was with a Taser.

    The first shot hit the woman in the leg, and she fell to the ground, and then police confirm she was Tasered again, seconds after they failed to properly handcuff her. The Taser stun gun fires two barbed metal darts at the victim and delivers a 50,000 volt electric shock.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10430737

    An unarmed sheep shearer tasered this week has joined critics saying police use the devices far too quickly and often, as even more are set to be rolled out on the frontline.

    Close to 1000 tasers will soon be in all frontline police cars a result of a review last year, which will also see guns in patrol cars.

    Shearer Peter Papa was unarmed, though not willing to co-operate, when he was stopped and tasered by police with 50,000 volts….

    We are following the same trend as overseas. Tasers are being used to force compliance and punish people. If we allow the cops to do that, then surely the rest of society should be able to use weapons to protect their lives and those of others. The NZ police have a nasty habit of prosecuting citizens who use weapons to defend themselves. It is a double standard that needs to be jumped on, hard. The police need to be put in their place on this issue and be told in clear term that the law is there to serve the public, the public are not there to serve the law.

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  49. Kea (12,820 comments) says:

    Rex, here in NZ we have a recent case of an innocent man being gunned down & killed by police, and no charges laid. Incredible but true. Sure it was an accident, but why do the police prosecute Deer stalkers who accidentally shoot their mate?

    The principle seems to be that the armed state can shoot/taser/kill who ever it wants, and the rest of us have to put up with it. The NZ Police have a shameful record of prosecuting people acting in self defense. That, along with their approach to so called “family violence” are the two worst aspects of the NZ Police. They are better than most of the worlds cops, but that aint saying much.

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  50. Nick K (1,243 comments) says:

    Kea, in that second paragraph you are saying the police should prosecute as a matter of course for police officers but not for others. The police don’t decide guilt. If someone acts in self defense it is for the courts to decide whether that is the case.

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  51. joana (1,983 comments) says:

    Great comments Rex and Kea..
    My previous point being that prior to tasers , the cops manhandled, whacked , handcuffed and possibly pepper sprayed mentally ill patients..they used patience and skill in dealing with people whom we must all remember were ILL…My question remains..what happened in the pre taser days?? Where are the stats?
    Modern anti psychotic medications are supposed to be better than previous ones..The use of anti depressants has doubled in the past six years…With so many people medicated , the need for taser use should be negligible.
    70 people is a lot of people..Is there a breakdown of nos. per area? The information regarding these 70 occurences should be made public.
    The difficulty is that mentally ill people are some of the most vulnerable people in society and they do not have a voice.

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  52. Nick K (1,243 comments) says:

    Pre-tasers, some mentally ill offenders were shot. Others had batons used on them. Some were just wrestled to the ground using a bit of help, and then handcuffed. Some could be talked out of what they were doing, but not many.

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  53. nasska (11,491 comments) says:

    Joana

    Mate’s wife is a psychiatric nurse & her take on it is that since the advent of “P” on the drug market there’s been a significant rise in the numbers of completely out of control, violent patients. I somehow doubt that the poor old schizo who’s been neglecting his medication is getting tasered. It’s more likely to be the meths freaks.

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  54. Kea (12,820 comments) says:

    Kea, in that second paragraph you are saying the police should prosecute as a matter of course for police officers but not for others. The police don’t decide guilt. If someone acts in self defense it is for the courts to decide whether that is the case.

    No, I am saying the opposite. The police should treat everyone equally, including themselves.

    The courts did not get to decide guilt when the innocent courier driver was killed (another wounded by police gunfire). by police, because no charge was laid. Can you imagine the cops not even laying a charge if it was a citizen trying to defend his life, and they accidentally killed someone ! Of course not. The “courts decide” is a popular line, but misleading and it hides a few realities of how the system works.

    I can not see why the Police think it is ok to bash, taser, and kill (even when there is no immediate threat to life) but will not allow the rest of us the right to defend our own lives by similar means. Sorry folks, but police lives are no more important than plumbers (or courier drivers) lives.

    It is clear the cops are using increasingly violent means to deal with situations that are not a serious threat to life. I am worried about that trend.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/7838084/Shooting-victims-family-to-sue-police-for-1m

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  55. Kea (12,820 comments) says:

    Making a Killing: The Untold Story of Psychotropic Drugging

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UDlH9sV0lHU

    You will find many other docos pointing out a few alarming truths about psychotropic medications and the bullshit of Psychology. And that is a lot of bullshit !

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  56. slightlyrighty (2,475 comments) says:

    To all those who say the police should only draw against armed offenders……

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=162218

    Carlos Namana was unarmed when he beat Constable Murray Stretch to death. I would also say that Namana has some mental health issues

    http://www.safe-nz.org.nz/Data/namanacarlos.htm

    We ask the police to put themselves in harms way. I would not willingly place myself in 10% of the situations they do so daily. A tasering is a small price to pay compared to a death, of a cop or an offender. Remember, a taser protects the life of both.

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  57. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    Kea (1,370) Says:

    January 6th, 2013 at 7:29 pm

    desperate stuff there mate. Obviously the use was legal or they would have been prosecuted. What part of ” all the incidents are recorded and videoed “are you not understanding? I understand that you have been totally outgunned ( pun intended) on this but you are trying to turn this into a Bain thread, rehashing the same old thing ad nauseum. My question remains, how many Taserings have been shown to be unlawful?

    and the courier driver death, the recommendation not to charge was not made by the police , but by the independant authority,.

    Now despite your writings you are really are getting a tad fixated on this matter and I don’t want to be referring to you as Nostalgia-Nz number two in the coming days.

    Better still, join the cops, give it a go for a year, a sad indictment on my sense of humour but I loved it was trying to tell noble and young and well meaning young cops ” just be a bit careful with such and such he will have a crack if he doesn’t know you and he can be a real mongrol” . “Do fuck off” Paul they’d say” I’ve had the latest sensitivity training, dinosaurs like you are passe, I ll so you how to handle him” .Bang.

    I’d say ” Its alright son, we’ll get your nose broken on the other side next month and that’ll even it out”

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  58. kowtow (8,458 comments) says:

    kea

    One of the beautiful things our Anglo Saxon tradition has given us is the law and courts.

    The police are subject to that.

    Ever heard of the Coroner?

    All violent deaths ,including those at the hands of the cops will be reported to the coroner,it’s one of our checks and balances.

    An individual policeman’s life is certainly not more important than a plumber’s but when a cop puts on his uniform to go to work he is doing that on our behalf,as a sworn duty, as a constable ,a fellow citizen given special powers by us and subject to extra laws that we’re not subject to.The plumber is fixing pipes or blocked shitters on his own behalf,not yours and mine.So in another sense that policeman’s life is more important than a plumbers’ cos the cop is keeping the peace on our behalf.

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  59. Kea (12,820 comments) says:

    Polly, I am no bleeding heart and I am well aware of what some people are like to deal with. I have seen a bit myself.

    Are you ok with private citizens using guns and tasers to protect themselves and others?

    If not why ?

    Kowtow, the police chose to do that job, the same as the plumber. Also modern plumbing saves WAY more lives than the police ever have. You need to check your facts, even if it does not appeal to your authoritarian nature. Modern plumbing saves millions of lives globally.

    http://www.plumbingsupply.com/flushingtoilethistory.html

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  60. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    Are you ok with private citizens using guns and tasers to protect themselves and others?

    I’d prefer it if even the police didn’t, if your are suggesting that you should be able to carry a taser yourself, no, I don’t want to to and have never felt the need to.

    When was the last time you were involved in a violent incident? seriously. Its really rare unless you are out amongst lots of drunks at 4.00am or you are someone who looks for trouble or a bouncer 99% of the citizens never have a contact with the police for anything ever and most manage that by managing their life and not putting themselves in risky situations

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  61. Kea (12,820 comments) says:

    Fair enough Polly, but then I would rarely have to use my taser. Hard to see a downside.

    I used to be a repo man and have also done some other work that is a bit risky. All legit. A few times I thought I was stuffed and were in for a major hiding. I have also been out with cop mates and seen the shit they put up with. The cells are like a zoo come 4am on a busy night. It is incredible stuff, as idiots start fighting right under the cops noses or simply pick a fight with the cops. Your running all over the place trying to put out spot fires. The dogs seem to sober folk up pretty fast though :)

    I would not like to have a gun strapped to my hip when struggling with a bunch of drunks. It could get messy if one of them tried to grab it.

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  62. Dexter (303 comments) says:

    What the mental health foundation should really be asking is why Police have become the first port of call for mental health incidents as opposed to mental health workers or doctors. Perhaps they should also recognize all the time and resources they invest above and beyond what the mental health act requires.

    If they don’t want force to be used, then they should be pushing for mental health workers to actually attend the scenes and negotiate with these people rather than expecting a constable with no training to be able to deescalate and calm persons with extremely complex mental health and medication issues.

    Anyone suggesting that tasers are inappropriate or excessive against someone who is not armed clearly has no idea as to the dangers and degrees of force actually needed to subdue a physically capable and motivated person. To get an idea of how to do it safely, look how many people the prison restrain teams used while fully equipped, rather unrealistic to expect one or two cops to be able to do the same now isn’t it.

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  63. ChardonnayGuy (1,206 comments) says:

    At present, there is a memorandum of understanding regarding police taser and restraint use and the treatment of people with psychiatric disabilities who are (a) polydrug abusing; (b) off their meds due to the unpleasant side effects that some have (c) are unable to afford new meds due to chaotic living situations and/or other financial demands in the context of dire financial need (d) who have developed tolerance to some forms of meds and may require alternative meds.

    In my case, I’m lucky. I’ve never required long-term institutionalisation and my depression has not significantly limited access to educational achievement and caused minimal employment disruption for me. But then, in my case, the current SSRI that I take works and has done so for the last twelve years. Unfortunately, the same isn’t true insofar as antipsychotic meds go in the context of schizophrenia. Nor do SSRIs, MAOIs or anticyclics work for everyone who experiences depression or bipolar disorder.

    As I’ve said, I do agree with those who argue that people with psychiatric disabilities who are placing themselves or others at risk with antisocial or violent behavioru require restraint. However, are tasers neccessarily the best form? I do not deny that they do often require some form of restraint, let it be noted. And dual diagnostic cases, which mix neglect of self-medication and substance abuse, are bloody nightmares to deal with in terms of clinical assessment and organising synchronised care.

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  64. pq (728 comments) says:

    Sweet jesus Chardonay, the cops call into a violent situation and you want a clinical assessment, omg, shoot taser first.
    Questions later.
    Its a bloody site better than that mad armed offenders squad, and the days when they turned up with rifles and batons and hand guns

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