Just one week into the taser trial its frequent use shows that it is not being treated as a weapon of last resort, Green Party MP Keith Locke says.
“In the first week the taser has been fired at one suspect, and drawn on four other occasions, despite prior police assurances that it would be used only when other options have been exhausted,” Mr Locke the Green Police spokesperson says.
Superintendent John Rivers, the officer in charge of the trial, told both One News and Campbell Live in June that the taser would be used only as an “absolute last resort”.
“From what we have seen so far it seems police are too eager to reach for their taser when they confront a suspect holding a potential weapon.
“Among the incidents where the taser has already been drawn is one where a man fleeing from a burglary had a screwdriver in his hand.
“I will be asking the police for details of this and the other incidents, to see if the trial guidelines were being adhered to: namely that there was a serious threat of physical injury, and that more traditional means of apprehension were inappropriate. Normally, an experienced police patrol could deal with a burglar with a screwdriver, or call in backup, without having to draw such a dangerous and threatening weapon as the taser,” Mr Locke says.