Monday, December 22, 2008
WHILE NEW ZEALAND POLICE ARM THEIR OFFICERS WITH TASER GUNS - AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL QUESTIONS THEIR SAFETY...
After a year long trial period New Zealand police have begun arming their officers with the Taser electric gun weapon. Members of the armed offenders squad in Auckland and Wellington have been issued the weapon with training for general duties beginning in Feb 2008.
Tasers have been used in several countries, including some Australian states, Britain, Canada and France, as a less dangerous alternative to guns. NZ police have decided to issue them after the year long trial and independent revue here.
But Amnesty International is urging police to limit their use of the 50,000 volt weapon. In its report LESS THAN LETHAL it has found that 334 people have been killed in the US after being stunned by the weapons between 2001 and August 2008. Medical examiners have concluded the weapons were responsible for at least 50% of the deaths. These were people with no underlying disease or drugs in their systems that would have contributed to their deaths.
Reports of many deaths from Canadian police use has put some doubt of the Taser weapons used there as well. Read the article below. Mounting evidence was showing that industry claims of Tasers as safe and non-lethal weapons were not standing up to evidence. Reports from Australia were similar. These weapons can kill and should be used as a last resort before the use of guns.
New Zealand police have said while the rules for the use of Tasers in this country were allegedly vastly different in comparison to the US situation, the Amnesty report would be considered here.