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Second series of public use of force reports released

Second series of public use of force reports released

11 July 2014 - Police has today released its second series of routine public reports on the use of Taser and other tactical options.

The two reports, which cover the period 1 July - 31 December 2013, and the full 2013 calendar year, contain a wide array of data covering the use of Police's various tactical options, including, empty hand tactics (physical force), handcuffs, OC "pepper" spray, baton, dogs, Taser and firearms.

It follows the previous public release of Police use of force data in December 2013, which covered the period between March 2009 (when Taser was reintroduced to the four Taser trial Police districts), up until to 30 June 2013.

"Routine release of this data is part of our ongoing commitment to accountability and transparency for the use of force, which places New Zealand Police at the forefront of international best practice," says Superintendent Barry Taylor, National Manager Operations.

"What is really pleasing to see from the 2013 data is that of the more than 2.8 million recorded face to face interactions Police had with the public during the period, the use of force is actually rare, featuring in just under half a percent (0.04%) of those interactions.

"The data also shows that when used appropriately, the Taser continues to be a very effective tactical option for keeping our staff and the public safe. During 2013 it has again proven its powerful deterrent effect in de-escalating threatening and violent situations, backed by the fact that for every six times it was presented, it was discharged only once."

The data continues to show the Taser is among the least injury-causing tactical options used by Police. Excluding minor probe wounds, only 1% of those it was used against during 2013 sustained further injury.

Mr Taylor says release of the data will assist both Police and the public to better understand where, when and how force is used to effectively de-escalate situations that may endanger police or public safety.

The data shows that the most commonly used tactical options by Police involve lesser degrees of force. For example, physical force (empty hand tactics) was used in 41% of Tactical Options Reporting events, handcuffs in 38%, OC spray in 27%, and Taser in 21% of events – noting that some events involve more than one tactical option being used.

Copies of the reports and a summary of their key findings can be found on the Police website.

ENDS

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