Friday, September 28, 2007


A one year Taser trial in New Zealand is ending; but opponents believe the Taser stun gun will be used regardless of the findings,

The controversial year long Taser trial is drawing to a close, but opponents believe police will use the device regardless of the outcome.

The latest issue of the NZ police magazine Ten-One says police have used the stun gun device 19 times in 111 deployments.

Criminal lawyer Marie Dhyrberg from the lobby group Campaign Against the Taser says the trial has not been transparent or independent. She claims that throughout the trial period police have refused to give her group detailed information about the situations where the Taser has been used, preventing monitoring and assessment of whether the gun is reasonable or necessary.

Ms Dhyrberg says opponents understand police need to use an immobilising device to help defuse difficult situations, but believe a safer alternative should be used.

The attitude of the New Zealand Government will be very interesting; will they be critical of the Taser trial itself, or will they want to be seen supporting frontline police officers. It has to be remembered that New Zealand police are an unarmed police force like the British police; firearms are available only when the need arises.

While the police and New Zealand Government continue to evalute the controversial stun gun, its need was never more understated with the shooting and killing of an out of contol man by a policeman in the South Island city of Christchurch in recent days.

The victim who was under the influence of party pills and had not slept for four days had run amok with a hammer, and directly threatened the policeman who was armed with a Glock pistol. He fired twice at the man, in the leg and chest; he was killed instantly. His life would have been spared if Christchurch police had access to Tasers.

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