October 20, 2010
Jodie Minus, The Australian
THE NSW government has bowed to pressure from the state Ombudsman to make Tasers a weapon of last resort.
The move follows a series of controversial uses of the stun guns.
But police have failed to act on a recommendation by NSW Ombudsman Bruce Barbour that an adverse complaint finding be made against a riot squad officer who used inappropriate and excessive force when he tasered a Sydney man, his 2009-10 annual report released yesterday reveals.
The changes in Taser operating procedures within the NSW police come amid a national debate about the use of the weapon by police forces, brought to the fore by an incident in Western Australia in which police tasered an unthreatening man 13 times.
Mr Barbour said standard operating procedures for Tasers were left too open to interpretation and the discretion of individual officers. In the annual report he called for them to be upgraded, to make clear that stun guns should only be used in situations where a person is violently confronting or resisting police.
Mr Barbour made the same recommendations in his 2008 report to parliament, The Use of Tasers in the NSW Police Force, but police so far "refused to do this".
But six hours after the annual report was released yesterday, Police Minister Michael Daley and Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione issued a joint statement saying the procedures would be tightened.
"This amendment will simply leave no doubt in (officers') minds that Tasers are to be used as a last resort and that they are no substitution for using negotiation and conflict-resolution skills," Mr Daley said.
WELCOME to TRUTH ... not TASERS
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
October 20, 2010