Commissioner’s consultation over Tasers a travesty

Green Party MP Keith Locke says Police Commissioner Howard Broad’s day long consultation with MPs before deciding to introduce Tasers is a travesty.

“My high hopes that Mr Broad was serious about hearing MPs have been dashed by this sudden decision,” Mr Locke says.

“It is laughable that Mr Broad thinks listening to a half hour debate in Parliament is sufficient for him to press ahead with Tasers.

“Mr Broad seems to have collapsed before criticism from the Police Association that whether or not to introduce the Taser is purely an operational decision.

“I appeal to Mr Broad to wait until he receives detailed submissions from Green Party MPs and other parties on the plan announced yesterday.

“We are talking about a 50,000 volt weapon that can and will kill people – as we have seen many times overseas. This is not a normal operational matter such as the design of a police car.

“Introducing such a fearful weapon would be a big move towards the more violent US style of policing. This is absolutely not something for the police alone to decide.

“The Green Party has never disputed that the Taser could be useful in particular circumstances – as could any weapon. But the dangers of the Taser are much greater – including the resulting deaths from 50,000 volt shocks and the undermining of good police-community relations which are so important in fighting crime.

“The Taser is an excruciatingly painful weapon, which the UN Committee Against Torture has described as an instrument of torture. It will unnecessarily induce fear in the community if it becomes part of the police armoury.

“The Green Party is glad the Government allowed a debate in Parliament on the issue yesterday. This should have been followed up by a period for submissions on the police proposal to introduce Tasers, and a final decision based on the motion voted on in Parliament.”