Hawke's Bay police have fired their Tasers at least 22 times over the past three years.

They presented Tasers 20 times in the first seven months of this year and fired six times, according to data obtained under the Official Information Act. However, the data doesn't included events where the use of force is associated with fatality, as those events are the subject of internal and external investigations.

Four Hawke's Bay police officers were this week acquitted of assaulting Gregory McPeake shortly before he died while under arrest in March 2015.

Police used OC spray and Tasers and police dogs on Mr McPeake after he didn't respond to voice appeals to leave his vehicle. He was ultimately forced out and began vomiting as he lay on the ground. He died despite first aid from police and ambulance staff.


The court heard Mr McPeake was morbidly obese, in ill-health, had taken drugs, and was suicidal.

A jury agreed nothing any officer did had a "causal link" to the death.

Last year, Hawke's Bay officers presented Tasers 42 times and fired 12 times, according to police data. In 2014, they were presented 45 times and fired four.

Nationwide, Tasers were displayed 534 times and fired 82 times in the first seven months of this year.

They were displayed 4196 times over the five previous years and fired 623 times.

Their use spiked in 2013 when Tasers were displayed 985 times and discharged 150 times.

Tasers were first introduced in 2008 and officers were armed incrementally.

The number of people being Tasered would have increased as more officers were trained to use them, police manager for capability, Inspector Jason Ross, said.


Tasers were the least injury-causing tactical option used by police, he said. They typically had an injury rate of about 1 per cent compared with about 24 per cent for batons, about 3 per cent for pepper spray and about 89 per cent for dogs.

The presentation of a Taser alone stopped violent behaviour more than 80 per cent of the time, Mr Ross said. NZME