Police are lauding Tasers as a "godsend" after the threat of being zapped by the weapon helped subdue a 20-year-old Waitara man who allegedly confronted police with an axe on Monday night.
Officers pulled a Taser during a domestic violence incident at Waitara about 9pm when an agitated and aggressive man is said to have picked up a large axe.
Waitara Senior Sergeant Matt Prendergast said the Taser was not discharged but had scared the man off.
"He ran into a neighbouring property and he had got rid of the axe."
Once in custody, the man was assessed by the crisis team and remanded to appear in court on charges of possession of an offensive weapon, male assaults female and threatening to kill.
Mr Prendergast said it was a good example of how useful Tasers could be to police.
"A situation which was potentially dangerous has been resolved without too much incident. It was good work by the police officers involved."
Police national headquarters asked for a formal Official Information Act request to be submitted before they would release up-to-date information about Taser use in Taranaki. The OIA process gives the police 20 working days to respond to the request.
In April the Taranaki Daily News reported police had Tasered three people in Taranaki since the weapons were brought into service in 2010.
Superintendent Sandra Manderson said Tasers were pulled 10 times between March 2010 and September 2011, and discharged on three of those occasions.
South Taranaki police had used Tasers seven times during that period, discharging the weapons on two occasions to bring down violent offenders.
Taranaki Daily News records show the most recent use of a Taser before Monday night was in June when police used one on a Stratford man armed with knives to stop him from further harming himself.
Taranaki rural area commander Inspector Frank Grant said the Taser was an important tool for rural police.
"The chance that you could be working on your own in a rural area is much higher than in the city and you may have to use a Taser more often because you don't have the extra support of other staff."
New Plymouth Sergeant Ross Wright said it was down to an officer's assessment of a situation as to whether they chose to use a Taser.
"When you're dealing with a suspect who has weapons, a Taser can be an excellent option."
He said the simple act of turning the Taser on and pointing the red laser dot at an offender was often all it took to ensure co-operation.
"That's the beauty of a Taser; no one wants 50,000 volts going through their body."
He said 90 per cent of offenders with a Taser aimed at them did what they were told.
"That's a pretty good statistic. It's really been a godsend for police," he said.
Not all police in Taranaki were armed with Tasers, but they were readily available if needed, as were other forms of weapons.
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