It’s seems clear that police on the Wellington TPPA demonstration yesterday were in breach of their own rules for use of the taser.
Frank Macskasy’s blogpost today has photos clearly identifying several officers carrying tasers and yet the police “standard operating procedures” are clear they are not to be carried by police at demonstrations.
These police procedures for “Electro Muscular Incapacitation” devices (tasers) contain several restrictions on their use including:
The use of EMI device is restricted in the following circumstances:
As a single shot weapon, the EMI device is best suited to application against individuals.
In crowd situations, consideration must be given to the potential to inflame the situation before an EMI device is utilised.
The EMI device is not to be carried by members rostered for duty at demonstrations.
The inflammatory effect of their presence on the demonstration is reported by Wellington demonstrators – the very thing the operating procedures were designed to avoid.
Police have carried tasers on other demonstrations and I was involved in a complaint about officers armed with this weapon at a protest at the GCSB spybase at Waihopai in January 2014.
It could be however that police operating procedures have changed (I can’t find any evidence of this online) and that police no longer have concern for their inflammatory effect.