Dunedin first to get new Taser model

Constable Desiree Hoera, of Dunedin, is one of the first officers in New Zealand to hit the...
Constable Desiree Hoera, of Dunedin, is one of the first officers in New Zealand to hit the frontlines with the new Taser 10, which is being rolled out across Otago. PHOTO: GREGOR RICHARDSON
Dunedin police officers are the first in New Zealand to get a new model of Taser, but hope they never have to use them.

Dunedin dog section supervisor Sergeant Mike Calvert said Dunedin was the first city in New Zealand to receive the Tasers and frontline staff had already started wearing them.

All frontline staff would eventually be equipped with the new Tasers.

The new Tasers have a range of 13m and are equipped with 10 prongs in the chamber as opposed to the old Taser X2 model, which had two prongs and an optimal range of 2m to 4m.

Sgt Calvert said the increased distance gave officers more time to de-escalate a situation and use their tactical communication skills.

"You can be way back behind cover instead of having to get up close before you use it. But the interesting thing is about 82% of the time you just present it [and] the situation is resolved.

"I’ve been in the police force since the Taser was first brought in, and I’ve presented it a few times but I’ve never had to use it."

Unlike the old Tasers, the new models did not have cameras on board to record when they were used, which made them easier to handle.

"It still has all the data, it just doesn't have an integrated camera — police are still looking into separate cameras."

Constable Desiree Hoera said the new Tasers would increase the safety for both officers and offenders.

"We go into houses with so many nooks and crannies, and you don’t want to have to go into the room with someone, so this gives us the ability to stay out of the room to create that distance and give us more time to think and make better decisions.

"The old Tasers, the distance was not large, so that time to think was lower. Now I have more time to think about the room, who is in the room and what I can do."

Three weeks of training for officers in the Otago Coastal area were completed yesterday and training will start soon in Central Otago, then Southland, before moving to the rest of New Zealand.