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February 2009
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Taser training begins

'Train the trainers’ instruction has been completed in the four police districts involved in the 2007 Taser trial, with frontline training in those districts now under way.

The Taser X26

Photo: Anna Woolnough

Sergeant Paddy Hannon and Chris Butler, RNZPC, have delivered a three-day intensive training package to certify instructors in Waitematā, Auckland City, Counties Manukau and Wellington districts.

The instructors are now presenting an eight-hour package to frontline response staff in the four trial districts. For some it’s a refresher, while other staff who weren’t involved in the trial are starting from scratch. This is expected to finish next month.

Then, subject to a successful funding bid for the coming financial year, training will be extended to response staff in the other eight districts as the Tasers are rolled out to the rest of the country.


Safety for both the public and officers is a core component of the training. It incorporates weapon handling techniques, technical specifications and medical and legal implications.

Several scenarios are presented to demonstrate situations where the Taser could be used effectively. This provides officers with a good basis from which to make decisions when confronted with incidents.

Staff will require the authorisation of a sergeant or above to carry the Taser and must comply with strict guidelines and restrictions surrounding its deployment and use.

The Taser Wellington District officers training to be trainers

Photo: Anna Woolnough

Often, as the trial showed, the mere threat of Taser use accompanied by the sight of the laser beam illuminated on the subject will be enough to take the heat out of an incident.

Sergeant Steven Dearns, Upper Hutt, was one of those who attended a ‘train the trainer’ session at Wellington DHQ earlier this month. He believes the Taser will be a useful extra tactical option for police.

“It fits well between the use of pepper spray and firearms. Pepper spray can work well but you need to be in fairly close contact and you’re therefore vulnerable.

“Firearms were previously our only option when dealing with an armed, aggressive individual,” he says.

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