Thursday, 23 August 2007

Taser trials

One year of taser trialling is nearly over, and there is now a decision to be made: Do we want the police we pay for to carry tasers. Here below is what I said one year ago. I don't think we've learned anything since to change it?
* * * * *
Steven Wallace. Constable Murray Stretch. Detective Constable Duncan Taylor. Three people who may still be alive if the police had been allowed to carry tasers before now.

So tasers are a good thing. Let the trial begin!

  • Their use has been abused by police departments overseas.
  • NZ's thuggish police culture has become evident in traffic policing and recent court hearings.
  • We still have many, many laws on the books that are an affront to personal liberty, and that suggest that no matter what internal police guidelines are established for their use, tasers used by the NZ police are going to be used against some people that have committed no real crime, and some of them will be used when and how they shouldn't.
So if our police force was run by angels and we only had good law on the books, tasers would be an unreservedly good thing. Does that perhaps show the urgency of getting our laws right, and proper checks and balances over our police force?

I think so. Fine words and promises aren't enough. You can imagine for yourself how much restraint such fine words would exercise on Clint Rickards and his colleagues. If Tasers are to be introduced, proper legal checks and balance must be introduced to effect firm, entrenched, systematic and transparent restraint. Victimless crime laws must be repealed so innocent people are not 'Tased.' And as I argued here a short while ago, police systems need to urgently change to fix what most of us already know: that all is not well with the force. Trevor's ten points for fixing police systems would be something else to get on with quick-smart.

If the introduction of Tasers is urgent, as I believe it is, then all this needs to happen with speed.

And here's one further point:
  • If the police are allowed to defend themselves with pepper spray and tasers, then why can't we? Why shouldn't NZers be allowed to own Tasers to defend themselves from attack? If the police need to defend themselves as a matter of urgency, which they do, then how much more urgent is it that we who are their employers are able to defend ourselves.
LINKS: Taser trial starts Friday - TVNZ
Taser protection - Not PC (an earlier post on which this one is based)

RELATED: Politics-NZ, Law, Victimless_Crimes, Self-Defence


  1. I say fuck it, let's privatise. Let's have lots of different specialist crime-fighting companies. Let's get policing out of the hands of the government as much as possible.

    If government sucks at running an airline - and it does - why should we expect it to be any better at running a police force?

  2. An ex-military friend of mine (he was a sniper in Vietnam) said after a visit to New Zealand he thought everyone who lived there should be armed for self-defense as a matter of survival. He had trouble with certain Kiwi residents attempting to steal from him and also trying to accost his female travelling companions (attempted rape). He had to take to one intruder with a knife. In the end it was he who got a warning by the law and had his knife taken.

    Another tourist, a fellow I had a drink with, was accosted in Rotorua after he'd visited an ATM to withdraw cash. Being another ex-military dude he knew how to and was able to disable his attackers. Then he returned to his car and drove off very promptly. He was sure that he'd hospitalised two of the would-be muggers such was the thrashing he'd given them and he didn't want to stay around Rotorua for long in case the local law came after him. He drove all the way to Auckland prior to seeking medical attention for himself (he'd been bottled and stabbed in the opening stages of the attack). He too feels that NZland is an unsafe place.

    He is well aware of how in NZland people who protect themselves can end up being prosecuted for so doing. His advice was to get training, learn weapons and arm up anyway. In the end no-one will defend you except for you. You can't trust government agency.

    So I say, let people arm themsleves for self defense. It is indeed a legitimate reason. If anyone comes to attack me or steal from me or my family, it's at their mortal peril.

    C Sergeant

  3. You don't have to remember to put your bullets on a charger.

  4. "His advice was to get training, learn weapons and arm up anyway. In the end no-one will defend you except for you."
    Exactly so.
    Out here in the real world, that's a rare and wonderful thing known as "commonsense".
    Far better to be prosecuted for self-defence than to be crippled or killed or watch a loved one suffer that fate.
    Stuff 'em.


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