Threat of Taser usually enough
The threat of a Taser is normally enough to convince offenders to comply with police, figures show.
Tasers have been pointed at people in the Central District 96 times since their introduction in March 2010, and in all but 14 incidents, they were put away again without firing.
The odds of a Taser actually being fired are about one-in-six around New Zealand, based on figures up to the end of March this year that were released under the Official Information Act.
Palmerston North police area commander Inspector Pat Handcock said the numbers showed the Taser was an effective tool, when simply presenting it could defuse a situation.
"When it is drawn and pointed and the laser light comes on, more often than not the offender gives himself up.
"It is very effective, filling the gap between pepper spray and lethal force."
As at the beginning of this year, no-one in Palmerston North had been tasered, and Mr Handcock said the number remained very low.
The Central District does have the most number of Tasers in the country, increasing from 70 to 100 in the past three months.
"That's because of the rural nature of the district - because we have officers in quite remote locations who need to have access to spray, firearms, batons and Tasers."
Mr Handcock said there had been no documented cases in the district of anyone tasered having a reaction that required hospital treatment.
Auckland has fired Tasers more often than any other district, 24 times, and Tasman holds the record for the lowest number - five.
Nationally, police have fired 183 Tasers at offenders.
There are 908 Tasers in use, and none have fallen into the wrong hands.
Police national operations manager Superintendent Barry Taylor said no Tasers had been found in criminal hands.
- © Fairfax NZ News
What would you like the weather to do in March?