The Ombudsman's report on Tasers released today has failed to even consider
the deeply disturbing evidence of potential abuse of Tasers from the high
profile Roberti Curti coronial case. Missing this key evidence, the
recommendations are at best half-baked and fail to address many of the real
concerns about inappropriate Taser use by NSW Police.
Greens MP and Justice Spokesperson David Shoebridge said:
"It is quite remarkable that the Ombudsman has released his Taser
review without even considering the disturbing evidence and compelling
submissions from the Roberto Curti coronial.
"The highest profile potential abuse of Tasers by NSW Police has flown
under the Ombudsman's radar and failed to inform this report.
"One of the clear options for limiting Taser use by Police is to withdraw
them from general duties officers and limit them to specially trained
"This was the recommendation of the Ombudsman in his last review but,
despite the ongoing abuses of the weapon, has not been supported in this
"This report raises serious ongoing concerns with the police use of Tasers
but proposes little other than tinkering with the existing regulations.
"On the Ombudsman's findings one in eight cases was an inappropriate, and
potentially unlawful, use of a Taser.
"This means that in just five short months at the end of 2010 there were 27
people who were wrongly Tasered by the NSW Police.
"In another 53 cases at the end of 2010 people were inappropriately
threatened with a drawn Taser by NSW Police.
"A large proportion are by very junior officers with 4 or less years on the
job who are clearly baffled by the Police's poorly drafted operating
"At a minimum there must be strict external review of each Taser incident
and a prohibition on their use by general duties police."