New Zealand Law Society - 2018 Tactical options report released by Police

2018 Tactical options report released by Police

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The Police have released their 2018 report on the use of tactical options such as baton, OC spray, empty hand tactics, TASER, and firearms.

“Police recognise use of force is a significant power granted to us, so our use of force is always proportional to a person’s threatening, violent and/or life-endangering behaviour," says Superintendent Andrew Sissons, National Manager for Response and Operations.

Every time a police officer uses force through tactical options, that use is reported in a Tactical Options Research (TOR) report.

“Our Police rarely use force with people and the vast majority of interactions between police officers and members of the public are resolved without the need to use any tactical options," he says.

In 2018, of more than 3.6 million formally reported interactions between Police and public, staff reported 4,398 events where tactical options were used and and Mr Sissons says public trust and confidence in Police remains high.
The most recent Police Citizens’ Satisfaction Survey found 79 percent of people surveyed had full or “quite a lot of” trust and confidence in Police.

The 2018 Police TOR report contains a variety of information about use of force and outcomes during the last year, including:

  • There was a slight overall decrease in TOR events with 138 fewer (a 3 percent decrease) than in 2017.
  • The most commonly used tactical option at TOR events was empty hand tactics during 40 percent of TOR events.
  • The use of handcuffs and other restraints was used in 37 percent of events, and OC spray in 29 percent.
    This is similar to previous years.
  • TASER was used at 24 percent of TOR events. In most instances that usage was show only, 80 percent of the 1075 TOR events where TASER was deployed it was not discharged.
    This is a 4:1 show to discharge ratio; which has dropped from a 5:1 ratio in 2017.
  • Firearms were discharged at seven incidents in 2018; in three of these incidents, two officers both discharged firearms. In one incident the subject sustained fatal gunshot injuries, and in another the subject died but the cause of death was ruled inconclusive by the Coroner.
  • Most TOR events do not result in an injury. The number of injuries in 2018 (839) was almost identical to 2017 (837) and the vast majority of injuries were mild or moderate.