Police guidelines updated in wake of tasering incident

Guidelines around the use of tasers have been updated by New Zealand Police after a feral goat was tasered 13 times by an Oamaru police officer in 2016.

Documents from the Ministry for Primary Industries provided to the Otago Daily Times this week revealed detailed information about the December 1, 2016, incident that involved Senior Constable Carl Pedersen and the circumstances of his decision to taser the goat.

The animal had evaded capture, caused a traffic hazard on State Highway 1 and damaged property after it escaped from an Oamaru abattoir.

An investigation conducted by the ministry was completed in July, before it was determined by the Crown Solicitor's office that no charges of ill-treatment or reckless ill-treatment should be laid under the Animal Welfare Act as the case ''involved an unprecedented and novel set of facts''.

In a statement Southern district commander Superintendent Paul Basham said the incident was regrettable and changes had been made to policy and procedures, training and how tactical options reports for animals were submitted, as recommended by the Independent Police Conduct Authority.

''Police has acknowledged there were things which could have been done differently, and we have taken a number of lessons from this incident, which have been incorporated into updated policy and procedural guidance.''

A letter from the authority to Police Commissioner Mike Bush, dated January 24 and provided to the Otago Daily Times by police this week, concluded ''that the matter should be recorded as a policy/procedure breach'' by Snr Const Pedersen.

However, his actions were deemed to be in ''good faith and not in breach of the code of conduct''.

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