28 Jul 2009

Guns easier to access than tasers, say police

4:53 pm on 28 July 2009

Police in Auckland say it is easier for officers to access guns than tasers because of the limited number of tasers and strict procedures surrounding their use.

Robert Mokaraka, 36, was shot and injured outside a house in the Auckland suburb of Point Chevalier on Monday after police say he advanced towards officers armed with a meat cleaver and two knives.

Police say a taser was requested, but Mr Mokaraka was shot before it arrived at the scene.

Auckland police spokesperson Noreen Hegarty says only a few tasers have been installed in selected police cars.

Ms Hegarty says tasers can be used only by trained operators, though the district hopes that all approved front-line officers are trained in their use by March.

There are also more firearms in the district than tasers, she says.

Mr Mokaraka, a stage and screen actor for more than a decade, remains in a stable condition in hospital on Tuesday.

Police say a neighbour called them to a Smale Street property on Monday afternoon and while waiting for the armed offenders squad to arrive, a man was shot by officers at the scene.

The Independent Police Conduct Authority has been notified, and a full police investigation is under way.