New Zealand Police are set to replace their tasers but have not disclosed the exact nature of the new weapons or how they will be monitored for public safety. The existing X2 Tasers have built-in cameras, but many new tasers do not. While the Police Minister stated they have made “no decisions” about using body-worn cameras, the police have indicated that they’ve ruled out body cameras. The cost of this replacement remains undisclosed but is expected to be substantial. This move comes in the wake of increased controversy surrounding tasers, particularly after the death of a 95-year-old woman who was tasered by Australian police.
The future of tasers includes advancements like the Taser 10, which can shoot 10 probes before needing to reload, and proposals to put tasers on drones. These modern tasers are often linked to body-worn cameras and cloud storage systems. However, New Zealand police have been indecisive about adopting body-worn cameras, citing complexities in managing large volumes of footage as a key challenge. Monitoring and oversight of this new technology are unclear as of now, although officers are required to report any use of force, including tasers. The Police Minister emphasizes community expectations for the monitoring of use of force and the need for police accountability in this regard.
In the coming weeks, more details about the replacement tasers are expected to be announced. The new technology is expected to prioritize safety, privacy, ethical considerations, and human rights, according to police statements.
However, the move to replace tasers in New Zealand’s police force is not without controversy, given the history of opposition and concerns surrounding their use, including potential health risks.