The Herald reports:
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.
- 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