All cops to get tasers

July 31st, 2015 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

All frontline police response staff will now routinely carry tasers.

Police Commissioner Mike Bush announced the new initiative from Police Headquarters in Wellington this morning, saying the change was about enhancing the safety of New Zealand communities and police staff.

The initiative meant tasers could be carried by appropriately trained staff at all times while they were on duty.

Those staff were level one trained police staff, the majority of who were frontline police staff, Mr Bush said.

There are approximately 5500 police staff trained as level one responders, Mr Bush said.

Currently, these staff could access tasers from a lockbox in frontline police vehicles if required.

Mr Bush said the decision to role out tasers to all frontline police staff was made following detailed research, which showed the taser was successful in de-escalating violent situations.

“The reality is that police officers often enter into high risk situations.

If you don’t want our Police to be routinely armed, then you should support this.

If an offender has a knife, then it is very dangerous for a police officer to try and take them on with a baton or even something like capsicum spray. So without tasers, you need a gun.

Steven Wallace was shot as he was on a rampage with a baseball bat. If Police had tasers back then, he might be alive.

The Police published the results of three years of taser use in 2013.

  • Tasers were displayed in only 35 out of every 10,000 apprehensions and used in only 5 out of 10,000 apprehensions
  • Tasers only have to be used once in eight times they are displayed. Seven in eight times the display of it incentivises the offender to surrender
  • Only 1% of taser events (includes just displaying) resulted in injury to offenders

Would they prefer guns?

January 15th, 2015 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Police have revealed they fired a Taser stun-gun at an offender five times – the latest incident that has Taser critics calling for a review of its use.

The case is contained in statistics released by police about Taser use in the first half of last year.

A police spokesman said the incident involved a violent offender resisting arrest and fighting with an officer in the Counties-Manukau district with the Taser being pressed directly against the body of the suspect in “contact stun” mode.

“While the Taser was discharged [in contact stun mode] five times, three made contact with the person,” the spokesman said.

“Of the three which made contact, the first two were not effective in bringing the person under control, while the third was effective in stopping the violent behaviour.”

Seems to me the only problem is the taser isn’t strong enough if it doesn’t stop them first time.

Locke said: “It would be good for the Independent Police Conduct Authority [IPCA] to have a thorough review of the police use of Tasers to see whether they are being overused, or inappropriately used – such as to help the police get handcuffs on rather than in really dangerous situations.”

Police statistics showed one person was being Tasered every three days, he said.

Don’t get violent with Police and they won’t taser you. Reasonably simple.

But police say the Taser is fired only once for every eight times it’s unholstered and it is effective for defusing threatening and violent confrontations.

That’s a great stat.

“Taser remains a very effective non-lethal tactical option for use in difficult and dangerous situations, and all use of Taser is reviewed by police and is reported publicly.”

Without tasers, you would either have more offenders being shot, or more Police being assaulted.

How about tasers?

February 5th, 2014 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Auckland Council wants more power to ban and penalise windscreen washers at intersections.

The washers are already banned under a bylaw, and offenders can be fined up to $20,000.

But the council says the sanctions are costly, complex and ineffective, and it wants the Government to change the law so it can issue infringement notices – possibly in the form of spot fines.

Under the present law, it must get police to confiscate washers’ equipment or prosecute them.

Councillors yesterday unanimously backed a proposed law amendment that would allow the council to specify bylaw breaches that would result in an infringement notice.

I’ve got a better solution. Tasers. Just taser any windscreen washer that enters an intersection. That will solve the problem.

The washers are a sophisticated form of intimidation. They provide a so called service you did not ask for or want, and then intimidate you into paying for it.

Taser stats

December 16th, 2013 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Some interesting stats on taser use from the Police over the last three years. Highlights:

  • Force used by Police in just 0.2% of face to face interactions
  • Tasers drawn or used in just 0.4% of apprehensions
  • Seven of of eight times a taser is drawn but not used
  • When force was used tasers used just 16% of time, pepper spray 32%, handcuffs 34% and physical restraint 37%
  • Tasers only used 2% of 36,440 mental health incidents and discharged for 0.3%

So what was all the fuss about?

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 Tasers, 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.

Tasers save lives

June 14th, 2012 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Police say they saved a man’s life by Tasering him before he could injure himself further during a drama in Stratford.

Senior Sergeant Darrin Haenga said police negotiated with the 36-year-old man for two hours on Tuesday night before going in after learning the man was seriously injured.

Mr Haenga said that at 7pm the man initially confronted police with a machete, but had a selection of other weapons.

“He had a number of weapons strategically placed around the house, and a number of knives in different rooms,” he said.

Detective Guy Jackson, of Hawera, said normal police procedure would have been to use firearms, but it was decided Tasering the man gave him a better chance at surviving.

“Tasering this guy saved his life,” he said.

He said the man was incoherent, screaming, and threatening.

“There was knives and blood everywhere; the scene was horrendous,” said Mr Jackson, who ended up covered in the blood himself.

It is worth recalling that the Greens both opposed tasers being available to the Police and spent years campaigning against them. I presume they stand by their position that either the man involved in this incident should have been shot, or alternatively that Police should have taken on a machete wielding man with batons.

Would they rather the Police shot them?

August 25th, 2011 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Adam Bennett in the NZ Herald reports:

Fears police would use Tasers disportionately on Maori and Pacific Islanders have been realised, say the Mana Party and the Greens as police numbers show almost 60 per cent of people tasered in the past year were of those ethnicities.

But police and their minister, Judith Collins, say the figures merely reflect the “sad fact” that Maori are over-represented in crime statistics.

Yet Keith Locke says:

“Certainly they’re being fired disproportionately at Maori. The reasons for that are something we should look into.”

What Keith should be asking, is how many Maori lives were saved by the Police being able to use a taser to disarm an armed offender, without shooting them?

Both Ms Sykes and Mr Locke pointed to the fact that Tasers had been drawn and pointed at people 499 times during the past year and fired 88 times. That, they said, suggested police were using them as “instruments of control” rather than as a last resort to be used to protect the lives of police and the public.

So now they are complaining the tasers are not being fired enough. You can’t win. Surely it is a win-win when the threat of a taser works.