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How Are Taser Weapons Used by NSW Police Force?

NCJ Number
Date Published
October 2012
202 pages
This special report by the New South Wales Ombudsman investigates the use of Taser weapons by the New South Wales Police Force.
This investigation was conducted by the office of the New South Wales (NSW) Ombudsman to determine the extent of Taser weapons usage by the New South Wales Police Force (NSWPF). The investigation was conducted following the expanded use of Taser weapons by NSW officers between October 2008 and November 2011. Starting in October 2010, the Ombudsman's office evaluated data relating to 2,252 Taser use incidents, and conducted a detailed examination of 556 individual police Taser use incidents. The analysis enabled officials to determine whether relevant police procedures were accurately applied and whether the rules in each incident were correctly interpreted and applied by operational police. While the findings from the analysis show a small number of misuses or breaches of rules and procedures, overall the findings lend support for the ongoing use of Tasers by the NSWPF. The continued support stems from the strong accountability framework that has been established for Taser use, the presence of detailed rules and procedures for use of the Tasers, and the decision to have Taser Cams as a mandatory feature in each Taser. This information in this report is divided into 10 chapters that discuss the reasons for the investigation; the Taser debate; legislation, polices, and procedures governing Taser use by the NSWPF; training and education for NSWPF Taser use; review and accountability requirements for Taser use by the NSWPF; use of Tasers by general duties in the NSWPF; Taser use issues and the adequacy of standard operating procedures and training; issues with the Taser review and monitoring process; how the report's findings add to the Taser debate; and conclusions resulting from the analyses. Tables, figures, and appendixes