Report part of police transparency

CIARA PRATT
Last updated 05:00 17/07/2014

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Waitemata police officers are reaching for the Taser less often.

National figures indicate Taser use has increased across the country, with Tasers used in 1090 incidents last year, compared to 925 in 2012.

The numbers were released this month in a report which looked at how many times Tasers and other tactical options, including handcuffs, physical force, pepper spray, batons and firearms, were used.

For the Waitemata district - which covers the North Shore and Waitakere - Tasers were presented at 82 events and discharged 19 times in 2013.

The previous year saw Tasers deployed 89 times and discharged 10 times.

Injuries caused as a result of the use of tactical options has increased, however, with 87 people hurt in 2013 compared to 70 in 2012.

National manager of operations superintendent Barry Taylor says in 2013 Tasers were discharged only one in six times they were presented.

This makes it an effective tactical option to keep the public and staff safe, he says.

"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.

"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 per cent] of those interactions."

Nationally, Tasers were deployed at 21 per cent of events requiring a tactical response.

Physical force was used in 41 per cent of situations, handcuffs in 38 per cent, and pepper spray in 27 per cent of incidents.

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