Police have released detailed data on Taser use since 2009
showing officers are using the weapon more often, but also
resolving more incidents without discharging the probes.
The data also showed serious injuries from Tasers had been
rare, and were caused by people falling after having been
Since March 2010, when the device was rolled out to all
police districts, Tasers have been shown 2646 times, with 13
per cent of those cases involving a discharge.
On average since 2010, officers drew Tasers 59 times a month,
and discharged it nine times.
In 2013, the average has risen to 92 times per month, with an
average of 12 discharges.
However the data also shows rate of 'show' events escalating
to a discharge has declined, from one in six in 2010 to one
in seven in 2013.
Superintendent Barry Taylor said Tasers were now available to
more officers, with 1000 devices, including those available
in 900 front line vehicles, and 5000 officers trained to use
"In the context of the millions of face to face interactions
police has with the public, the use of force is actually very
rare, featuring in less than 1 per cent of those
Mr Taylor said Tasers also had the lowest injury rate of all
tactical options open to police, and were effective in
de-escalating violent situations, including those where
firearms may have otherwise been used.
But he said it was difficult to tell whether Taser use had
resulted in a reduction of firearms events.
"It's added to that suite and instead of jumping from pepper
spray to firearms it's created a less lethal option in the
The data showed half of events where a Taser was discharged
involved verbal threats, while just under half involved
violence towards police. In 21 per cent officers were
assaulted with weapons.
Officers reported Tasers were effective in 80 per cent of
show or discharge events.
Mr Taylor said when the Taser was ineffective it was caused
by operator error, which included the officer missing the
target, or environmental factors. Only in one reported case
had the Taser failed.
Tasers are not the most common tactics when force is required
- officers most often use physical force, or "empty hand
tactics", handcuffs and pepper spray.
Tasers cause the least harm, with about 1 per cent of events
resulting in injuries, excluding minor probe injuries.
Of the 31 Taser-related injuries since March 201, half were
moderate and did not require hospital treatment, while three
people were severely injured and taken to hospital.
Mr Taylor said the serious injuries were due to people
falling after being Tasered, rather than directly caused by
From next year, Police will publicly release the data every
- By Heather McCracken of APNZ
Use per 10,000