18 Sep 2008

Corrections rules out lethal weapons for staff

5:36 pm on 18 September 2008

The Department of Corrections says it will not introduce lethal weapons into prisons to give greater protection to its staff.

Earlier this week two officers were badly beaten by five inmates at Rimutaka prison near Wellington and are now recovering at home after spending time in hospital.

The department is continuing its investigations into whether to provide guards with batons, pepper spray and tasers.

But, its manager for the central region, Leanne Field says it has ruled out the possiblity of allowing lethal weapons because of the risk of them being used against staff.

Ms Field says not allowing officers to be armed with weapons that can kill is consistent with international standards.

The department says the armed offenders squad already provide a back up for serious incidents.

It is undertaking a project to assess what extra protection staff need, including an investigation into whether it should introduce armed response teams.