NEW ZEALAND – Proposed non-lethal weapons, including XREP, won’t stop attacks, says union (2010-12-20)

Published on December 20 2010 by admin

The Dominion Post

The Police Association says the introduction of new, non-lethal weapons won’t prevent attacks on frontline police.

The police will trial various non- lethal weapons next year. They may include “sock rounds”, “bean-bag rounds”, and the Taser XRep, which is an electric “bullet” fired from a standard pump-action shotgun.

Police Commissioner Howard Broad says the proposed new weapons will give police options in situations where now “we can’t do anything except use a firearm.”

Police Association President Greg O’Connor says non-lethal weapons are good if they are the right ones, are pragmatic and can be deployed without too much training.

But he says the weapons are generally deployed by specialist squads, like the armed offenders squad, who know what the situation is going into it.

“However, the real problem is that the injuries and the attacks that we are seeing at the moment are almost invariably on frontline response officers who will never have these weapons.”

Next year’s trial comes after a study conducted by Superintendent John Rivers looking into how police deal with armed offenders more than six metres away.

Officers have a range of tools they can use when trying to catch someone closer than six metres, such as batons, pepper spray and Tasers, but are forced to rely in other situations on police dogs and, in extreme cases, on firearms.

The Taser police use now has a range limited to the length of the wires, about 11 metres, and is difficult to reload.

Overseas forces are using Taser XRep, where an electric “bullet” is fired from a standard pump-action shotgun delivering the same stun- gun effect as a handheld Taser gun.

However, Mr O’Connor says that in most countries that deploy non- lethal weapons the officers also have firearms on their hips.

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