Territory Stories

Annual Report 2017-2018 OmbudsmanNT



Annual Report 2017-2018 OmbudsmanNT

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Tabled paper 934


Tabled Papers for 13th Assembly 2016 - 2020; Tabled Papers; ParliamentNT






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26 I also examined options available for action by NT Police in relation to management of police conduct issues and discussed potential future directions, as well as the action taken by NT Police in relation to the specific incident. I made recommendations relating to Taser use including the need for retention of specific restrictions, increased emphasis on training, guidance and monitoring and review and clarification of the circumstances in which Taser use is open. I also made recommendations relating to management of police conduct issues concerning the need for additional guidance for decision-makers regarding the circumstances in which particular options for action should be adopted and in which particular disciplinary sanctions should be considered. Implementation of Ombudsman recommendations As indicated in my report, NT Police advised that it broadly accepted my recommendations and that work was ongoing in relation to implementation. Where relevant, my recommendations are set out below, along with a discussion on implementation to date. Justification for use 1) NT Police continue to maintain specific restrictions on Taser use. NT Police provided me with a copy of its June 2018 Operational Safety and Use of Force Instruction. It maintains specific restrictions on Taser use. However, I noted a change in drafting which might arguably be interpreted as broadening the scope for Taser use. I raised this ambiguity with NT Police. They confirmed that this was not intended and the Instruction was immediately amended to clarify that the immediate physical threat of serious harm test (referred to in paragraph 95 of my report) still applies. Guidance and training 2) NT Police supplement the Use of Force General Order by additional guidance, illustrations and scenarios to better inform officers of the inherent risks of Taser use, particularly in relation to special circumstances. 3) NT Police training materials and courses be reviewed to ensure substantial emphasis on consideration of alternatives to use of force and specific restrictions on use of accoutrements like Tasers and chemical sprays. NT Police has provided copies of the: new Operational Safety and Use of Force General Order and Instruction; Defensive Tactics - Session 1 Defensive Tactics - Facilitator Guide v3.1 - the Defensive Tactics Guide; and Defensive Tactics - Session 3 Electro-muscular Control Devices -Participant Guide v4.1 - the ECD Guide. NT Police also referred to the Taser X2 Operator Online yearly theoretical re-qualification course. The ECD Guide (70 pages) does contain a number of references to risks of Taser use (for example, at pages 37, 41, 42, 44 and 47). It contains a full page discussion of At Risk persons at page 49, including specific reference to Aboriginal people. It also attaches at pages 62-69, the detailed Taser product safety warning. There is also discussion in the Guide of the importance of considering alternatives to Taser use and use of force generally, including utilising communication strategies as a first resort.

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