Frontline police officers are calling for senior staff to let
them to wear Tasers on their belts while they walk their
The request comes after Canterbury officers were temporarily
allowed to have the stun guns at their side while their
patrol cars' cabin safes are being upgraded.
The New Zealand Police Association said that should be
practice all the time across the country in the wake of
high-profile assault on officers.
Three officers were punched as they tried to make arrests
after a street brawl in Blaketown, near Greymouth, on
Last month, constable Perry Griffin was beaten by five men
while trying to arrest a teenager in Kawhia, Waikato; and in
Culverden, Canterbury a man was Tasered after coming at an
officer with a bayonet.
Sergeant John Hamilton of Rangiora Highway Patrol said Tasers
were designed to go on a belt and quick access was critical.
"You can't call time out, go to your car safe, fiddle with
keys, and re-engage the person - it's not how it works," he
"One of the highest risk things an officer can do is knock on
someone's door or pull over a car because you just don't know
what that person is going to be like."
Senior staff ordered the cabin safe upgrade last year after
it was discovered they could be prised open without a key.
While the safes - which are designed to give officers quick
access to their Glock pistols and Tasers - were upgraded, the
weapons have been stored in a locked safe in the boot of
In Canterbury however, area commander Superintendent Gary
Knowles authorised officers temporarily to carry Tasers as
They'll be back to normal procedure of being locked in the
safes by next month once the upgrades are completed and
police have no plans to change their current policy.
"The decision to allow Tasers to be worn was made for
operational reasons to ensure the safety of response staff,
and ensure that they retained the ability to deploy
appropriate tactical options during the period when cabin
safes were not available," Mr Knowles said.
The arrangement only applied to frontline response staff, and
"only a very limited number" were carrying Tasers at any one
time, he added.
Police association vice-president Luke Shadbolt said he
wanted it made a fulltime move across the country.
He said carrying Tasers can give officers options to deal
with escalating situations.
"At the moment when they're locked in the boot of your car,
you don't have that immediate access to them," he told Radio
Police policy allows for Tasers to be carried on the belt "in
certain situations for specific periods" and if operational
requirements demand it.
Last year New Zealand police said they were looking to
introduce a double-shot Taser that fires two high-powered
charges without officers having to reload after several
incidents in which the older model failed to work on armed