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Union To Issue Batons To Protect Fishery Officers

Union To Issue Batons To Protect Fishery Officers

“NUPE will next week offer to issue retractable batons to Fishery Officers facing aggression from offenders with illegal catches,” said John Kerr, Acting Secretary of the National Union of Public Employees (NUPE) who represent Fishery Officers. “This response follows a number of recent publicised attacks on Fishery Officers who have the power to arrest and handcuff offenders. Fishery Officers currently have no defensive capability other than open handed self defence training when they are attacked.”

“The Ministry of Fisheries decided in October 2002 that Fishery Officers’ Health and Safety required carrying batons and pepper spray. However the process of gaining approval from the Government was put on hold due to the Scampi Inquiry. Our Union has decided to take the initiative and offer batons to any Fishery Officers who feels they are likely to be threatened in their work."

“The Government’s response so far has been to tell at risk Officers to get around in pairs and wear stab proof vests,” said John Kerr. “The Ministry says it must wait to get the law changed so Fishery Officers can carry ASP batons – and acknowledges it has yet to even start the process which could take years.”

“However under the Crimes Act (s202) Fishery Officers can right now carry defensive weapons such as a baton if they have a reasonable excuse. There must be a specific threat to them. In cases for example where some Fishery Officers have to wear a stab proof vest, our Union believes such a threat exists.”

“We have informed the Ministry of our intention this morning,” said John Kerr.

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