Taser threat is enough – police
Mon, 29 Oct 2012 6:32p.m.
By Rachel Tiffen
Police have threatened more than 1500 people with Tasers since they were rolled out two years ago, but they've only pulled the trigger about 200 times.
Two years ago, Benjamin Easton took a sledgehammer to Wellington's Manners Mall to protest road changes. Police moved in to threaten him with Tasers.
But Easton says they didn’t bother him.
“It was inconsequential. I was engaged. From my point of view I was concentrating on what I had to do.”
Police say Easton’s response was unusual and in most cases the threat's enough.
Police operations national manager, Superintendant Barry Taylor, says the taser is a “really effective tool”.
“It helps de-escalate any situation we get into. As you can see by the number of shows versus discharges, the general public are seeing it as a deterrent.”
Australian and New Zealand police, as well as Taser experts from around the world, are in Wellington for the annual Australasian Taser Conference, here to compare notes on what's working and what's not.
The New South Wales ombudsman is calling for an overhaul of Taser use in the state after a student died after being tasered. The Brazilian student was high on LSD when Australian police chased him down, Tasered him nine times and restrained him using pepper spray, drive stuns and a baton.
Medical experts say his death was complex but the Taser played a part.
Here in New Zealand, of 212 people Tasered in two years, 13 have been injured. Five of those injuries were minor, seven were moderate and one was severe.
Police say the severe injury was a man in the Waikato who fell after being Tasered and needed stitches to the head.
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31/10/2012 12:36:15 a.m.
That's why tasers have video & audio equipment installed to capture the incident so as to keep an honest account of what occurred should there be an allegation of misuse of the taser.their a non lethal tool and lets face it... the offender is dictating in the situation whether they get tasered or not! It's very easy and in order to not get tasered, pepper sprayed etc... COMPLY!
30/10/2012 5:15:15 p.m.
Yes tasering someone is a lesser evil than shooting them. The issue being that I think Ruz is trying to say , is the very real problem with trigger happy bullies in the police force who may use it as sport instead of appropriate control of a violent offender
30/10/2012 8:35:29 a.m.
@ Ruz, are you actually serious or do you just like complaining? this is nothing but proof that police should have tazers, I dont care if they pull the tazer out everytime they arrest someone, if its going to stop people from resisting then it is the perfect tool.
29/10/2012 10:16:34 p.m.
I agree Shane and David. Ruz, not sure what your issue is. What it proves is that even just suggesting the use of a taser is enough to control majority of the situations.
29/10/2012 9:13:11 p.m.
Im happy for police to point tasers at people to gain compliance, todays youth need to learn some respect for authority, if it needs to have 50,000 volts or a 9mm round behind it then so be it.
29/10/2012 8:05:37 p.m.
rather have tasers than guns any day. But its hardly my place to say it as it's not me putting my life on the line for public protection.
29/10/2012 8:02:41 p.m.
If tasers have been pointed at people 1500 times but only used 200 times then that is clear evidence that they have been misused. My understanding is that tasers were supposed to be the non-lethal alternative to guns. Clearly they are being used when a gun would never be used. In fact a TV clip earlier this year showed a taser pulled on a youth simply to stop him from moving when apprehended by Police. The offier appeared to be in no danger, so this is more evidence of misuse.
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