An experienced police officer was strangled by a motorist he pulled over in an Auckland suburb yesterday, prompting calls for all officers to carry Tasers.
The officer, a senior constable on motorcycle patrol, was "strangled nearly to point of unconsciousness" by an offender who tried to flee in Manukau about 3pm, said Police Association President Greg O'Connor.
Mr O'Connor said it was also concerning that police had not notified the public of the serious event, that required the officer to receive medical attention.
The officer was not hospitalised.
Waitemata District Commander, Superintendent Bill Searle said police were commending the actions of the officer.
"The officer has sustained minor injuries and is now taking a few well-deserved days off work.
"He has shown real courage and commitment in apprehending this offender to prevent further risk to others, and his actions should be commended."
He said the officer pursued the fleeing driver in an allegedly stolen vehicle which had failed to stop in Manukau.
The vehicle was subsequently abandoned in Otara, and the man fled on foot.
"He was then chased by the officer and a physical struggle followed, during which it's alleged the man attempted to strangle then officer.
"After a brief further chase on foot, the officer was able to apprehend and restrain the man until help arrived."
Mr O'Connor said the officer chased the offender to a property, where a confrontation took place.
"Had this been more serious, had the officer been killed there would have been all sorts of questions around if the officer was well enough equipped.
"If the officer had had a Taser, he would have been able to avoid the need to enter into a physical struggle with the offender."
The association has consistently demanded that all police officers be equipped with a Taser while on frontline duty.
"Violent incidents arise before officers can return to their vehicle to retrieve the Taser, so they need to be carrying them."
Mr Searle said while the officer's injuries were minor, "no assault on our staff is ever acceptable".
A review will take place, he said.
A 41-year-old man was arrested and charged with aggravated injury, unlawfully using a motor vehicle, failing to stop and dangerous driving.
Currently, 1014 Tasers are available to 5564 appropriately trained police staff, with 908 frontline vehicles fitted with interchangeable safes that allow the Taser to be carried.
Tasers are kept in vehicles, officers do not carry them.Police Response and Operations National Manager, Superintendent Chris Scahill, condemned the actions of the offender.
Critical incidents, such as the strangling, were monitored and used as evidence for decisions about "tactical responses" such as Taser-use, he said.The number of assaults on police staff was steadily declining, he said.
"Police do not however release information about every assault on police staff, just as we don't for every member of the public."