Annual Report 2017-2018 OmbudsmanNT
Tabled paper 934
Tabled Papers for 13th Assembly 2016 - 2020; Tabled Papers; ParliamentNT
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27 So long as sufficient prominence is given to those aspects of the ECD Guide in the course of training then officers should be reasonably apprised of the risks involved. Even so, I consider the Guide would benefit from a clear statement in the Overview that Taser use comes with significant risks. I also note that the Guide has not yet been updated to align with the new GO and Instruction (for example, pages 32-33). The Defensive Tactics Guide (83 pages) provides detailed instruction of the approach to use of force within the framework of the Tactical Options Model. There is considerable discussion of alternatives to use of force. However, it does not refer to the absolute pre-conditions for use of particular weapons like the Taser. In my report, I said: 237. In that regard, the Use of Force GO was quite clear in describing the restrictions on Taser use, including the limitation to immediate physical threat of serious harm and inability to protect by less forceful means. 238. , I do consider that there is some potential for conflict within NT Police corporate documentation between the idea a continuum of use of force options (Tactical Options Model) and the absolute restrictions on Taser use in the Use of Force GO. This could potentially encourage a tendency to place less emphasis on the absolute restrictions. 239. In this regard, it is arguable that there should be a greater corporate emphasis on recognition of the risks of Taser use and the importance of compliance with relevant requirements rather than a simple reliance on what may appear reasonable in the circumstances. I take no issue with the general approach adopted in the Defensive Tactics Guide. However, there should be clear references in that Guide to the fact the some options are only available if preconditions are met. Taser use on children and others with vulnerabilities 4) NT Police carefully consider the question of whether Tasers should be used on children and, if they continue to be used, consider the inclusion of Taser use on a child (regardless of age) as a special circumstance. 5) NT Police review the special circumstances list in the Use of Force GO with consideration to the issues discussed in Chapters 1 and 2, including: a. defining young child, if that remains a separate special circumstance; b. use on people with small stature or slight build; c. use on people with other vulnerabilities; The new Operational Safety and Use of Force Instruction extends the circumstances where additional consideration is to be given to: 246.2 a child (i.e. a person who is apparently below the age of 18 years), and particularly against a young child (a young child is any person who is apparently below the age of puberty), or a person of small stature or slight build; This goes some way to addressing issues relating to children and people with small stature referred to in Recommendation 5. I also note that the ECD Guide contains specific references to the circumstances of vulnerable or at risk people.