New Zealand police want more taser stun guns

Wednesday, November 8, 2006

New Zealand police are asking when they will be able to get their hands on the new gun in the arsenal of police weapons, the taser stun gun. This call comes after the police Commissioner, Howard Broad, at a parliamentary select committee today, said: "Frontline police report that Taser stun guns have been a valuable addition to their crime fighting arsenal and officers are keen to see them widely deployed."

However Mr Broad said that tasers are not going to lead to police being fully armed all the time, "I do not believe at this point that the circumstances in New Zealand warrant the general arming of police."

Chester Burrows, Member of Parliament (MP) for the New Zealand National Party, suggested: "Police were gradually losing their ability to engage in dialogue in tense or hostile situations and Mr Broad admitted that was a concerning trend. Such situations were becoming more dangerous for police as weapons became more commonplace in the hands of criminals. Fighting with someone now has that added risk." Mr Broad said: "The expectation is that the use of the tasers will result in fewer assaults on police officers in the districts where the guns are being trialed"

Mr Broad said there is "overwhelming support for tasers from those carrying them and the rest of the force was anxious to follow suit."

Since the tasers were introduced on September 1, 2006, only two of the 180 tasers issued had been fired. Even though assaults on police were increasing. The tasers had been unholstered 20 times, four of those times further action was unnecessary, 13 were resolved when the laser sight was pointed at them and one other time the taser hadn't been fully drawn when the situation was resolved.

Anti-taser campaigners, which includes some MPs, say that death can occur from the use of the taser, which has happened overseas. But an earlier Wikinews report showed that the deaths only happened because of the fall to the ground when immobilized by the taser, not the taser itself.

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