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Thursday, 28 Aug 2008
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Civil liberties council slams Taser decision

Thursday, 28 August 2008
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The New Zealand Council For Civil Liberties has slammed the "rubber stamping" process for approving the police use of Taser stun guns.

Council chairman Michael Bott said he believed Tasers would be approved because of Police Commissioner Howard Broad's political skills.

Mr Broad has recommended that Tasers be adopted by frontline police, but wants to hear the views of MPs first, Parliament was told yesterday.

Mr Bott said the two main parties wanted to look strong on law and order and effectively the minor parties had been excluded from the debate.

It was "tragic" that the people who were itching to use the weapon had been the ones who devised and were in charge of the campaign for the Tasers, he said.

"It's been a carefully spun campaign and this is the logical conclusion to the campaign by the police."

M r Bott said there should be reasoned debate about the Tasers, and if the weapons were a pharmaceutical drug, it would have gone through a far more rigorous testing regime.

There needed to be far more research into the health effects Tasers could have on people with pacemakers and those with mental health problems, he said.

"Our concern is that there will be fatalities. It's not a matter of if, but when."


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