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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Tasers pass safety tests, say New Zealand police

New Zealand police are assuring the public that the new tasers being issued to frontline officers are SAFER than those used in North America because their new tasers were manufactured in 2007. Have they actually tested those tasers independently to confirm that they do indeed conform to the manufacturer's specifications? If critical problems exist with tasers manufactured prior to 2006, how can the New Zealand police say with any credibility that those same problems don't exist on the new model unless they DO test them? And how can they know for certain that the guts from tasers manufactured pre-2006 haven't been transplanted into some of the newer tasers?

December 10, 2008
EMILY WATT - The Dominion Post

Armed police in Wellington and Auckland have been equipped with Tasers in the first stage of a national rollout of the 50,000-volt stun guns.

This comes as Canadian police have withdrawn 24 Tasers for testing after research found some guns delivered up to 58 per cent more charge than they should.

Of 44 Tasers tested from United States police agencies, four weapons produced from 47 per cent more to 58 per cent more power than the manufacturer said was possible. All four faulty weapons were sold in 2004.

Testing scientists claimed the higher electrical current was enough to raise the risk of an irregular heartbeat to as much as 50 per cent for those with existing heart troubles.

Taser International has challenged those findings and maintains the stun gun is safe.

A police spokesman said New Zealand Tasers were not affected by the Canadian reports as they were manufactured in 2007. Those used in the trial in 2006 had all been re-tested.

Police Commissioner Howard Broad decided to issue Tasers this year after a trial in 2006 to 2007.

Superintendent John Rivers said selected Auckland and Wellington staff would get Tasers first and other staff would begin their training in February. The weapons would be fitted with video cameras to help accountability.

"We are very conscious of the need to reassure people that this new technology is designed to provide greater safety for police and members of the community when dealing with violent incidents."

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