A report released by police day has revealed that Tasers were used in only 26 per cent of incidents where force was required in 2017.

And officers armed themselves with guns at only 6 per cent of incidents where forced was used - and fired just 10 times across the year.

The 2017 Tactical Options Research report was released today.

Every time a police officer uses force – through tactical options such as baton, OC spray (also known as pepper spray), empty hand tactics, Taser, and firearms – that use is reported in a tactical options report.


The individual reports are then collated in a national database.

The results are compiled into an annual report that is released to the public.


"Frontline policing is a dynamic, unpredictable and occasionally volatile environment, where police and the public can come into contact with highly-charged situations," explained a police spokesperson.

"In order to protect public safety, and where appropriate and necessary, police are sometimes required to use force."

The use of force is a "significant power" for police in New Zealand, said the spokesperson.

"In recognition of this police provides accountability through its routine reporting of this environment.

"However, it is also a rarely used power in the context of all policing business."

The report revealed that in 2017 there were more than 3.5 million incidents between police and the public that were formally reported.

Of these, police staff reported approximately 4,500 events where tactical options were used.

The report showed that the most commonly used options were empty hand tactics at 39 per cent, handcuffs and other restraints at 34 per cent and OC spray at 32 per cent.

Taser guns were used at 26 per cent of force incidents but in most instances that usage was "show only", meaning the weapon was presented but not discharged.

"That is to say, in 2017, Taser was discharged at 186 events and presented at a further 1,003," the spokesperson said.

"This is a 51 show to discharge ratio; demonstrating that, where used, Taser is most likely to be deployed in 'show' mode only."

Firearms were reported to have been just at 6 per cent of the recorded events.

"In most instances the use of firearms was in presentation mode only," police confirmed.

"On 10 occasions a firearm was discharged by police."

Of those 10 occasions, four were "miss events", three caused non fatal injuries and three resulted in a member of the public being killed.

Police made changes to firearms reporting in 2017 within the TOR database, introducing a Fatalities/Shooting Injury Form.

Their aim in doing so was to "improve the comprehensiveness and real-time reporting" of the data.

"The form ensures real-time coverage of high-significance use of force events that have historically not been captured within reporting data," the police spokesperson said.

"From the 2018 reporting year on, these changes will improve the comprehensiveness of police firearms fatality and injury data."

Police confirmed that most TOR events did not result in injuries.

In 2017, officers were injured at 12 per cent of TOR events.

The people who had force used on them by police were injured in 18 per cent of events.

Police said the figures were "almost identical" to previous years.