Police hail stun-gun trial a success

The Police Association has called for the continued used of Taser stun guns, hailing them an "outstanding success".

Police are to consider the future of using the high-voltage stun guns to subdue dangerous offenders as their year-long trial period draws to a close next week.

A report on their effectiveness is due out by the end of November.

Association vice-president Stuart Mills said trial Taser units should remain available for frontline use where they were currently issued.

Mr Mills said the trial had been an outstanding success.

"No incidents have been reported that give any grounds for believing that fears expressed in some quarters about inappropriate use of the device are well founded."

He said the association was confident the formal evaluation would come to the same conclusion and decide to roll out Tasers nationwide.

"Tasers give police an effective option for dealing with violent and aggressive offenders without the need to deploy lethal force."

Taser guns fire electrodes which deliver a 50,000 volt shock, which police said was painful but not fatal.

The shock disabled those who ignored police instructions or who were not affected by pepper spray.

The guns, on trial in Auckland and Wellington since September last year, had been fired 19 times in 111 incidents by the end of last month.

Police said during those 111 incidents weapons were present or were used 78 times, including the threat of use or actual use against victims or police.

Tasers caused a national controversy when they were introduced, with lobby groups saying they would lead to deaths.

The guns fire electric probes into a person's body from up to 8m and for five seconds the person would get a 50,000 volt electric shock - enough to stop most people in their tracks, said the Police Association last year when the trial was announced.

- NZPA

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