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Southern’s Constable Desiree Hoera says the Taser 10 give users more time to think and make better decisions, increasing safety for both officers and offenders. Photo: STUFF

All eyes are on Police’s new Taser 10s – from the officers who can’t wait to get their hands on them to those waiting to see what difference they will make. CARLA AMOS reports.

Cops love a new piece of kit so there’s plenty of buzz around Police’s rollout of the new Axon Taser 10 – but some officers will have to contain that excitement for a while yet.

The rollout will be over five years so that it aligns with budgets, ensures delivery of stock as needed and so the Taser 10 (T10) five-year warranties are staggered. Southern kicked things off, transitioning from Axon’s X2 to the T10 earlier this year and Tasman is due to finish its switchover any day. Canterbury’s transition is set to start from August. The last districts to convert to the T10s will be those in Tāmaki Makaurau in late 2027.

Dunedin dog section supervisor Sergeant Mike Calvert, who was an area lead in Southern’s 11-week switchover, says the T10 has many advantages over the X2.

“The one I like most is you’ve got a 13-metre range, whereas the old ones were only 7 metres. This gives the officer more time to use communication to de-escalate and it keeps them safer.”

Mike says the T10 has a sturdier feel and the fact it has no camera means “you can actually hold it properly with two hands, which gives you a better stance to deploy it more accurately”. He also likes that the T10 can fire 10 individually targeted probes. “If you go bang, bang and there’s no reaction, you’ve got up to 10 shots to hit the right area.”

The first trigger pull discharges a probe with no electrical output but every subsequent probe can work to achieve neuro muscular incapacitation (NMI) – or contraction of a muscle group.

Mike is also excited with the “backend” features of Axon’s tactical asset management system.

“In the background, we can do audits a lot quicker and, at any point in time, we can see a live update on where all the Tasers 10s are. Every time someone signs in, they'll scan [a T10] with their Police phone, and that assigns it to them. Then they unassign the Taser at the end of their shift.”


The T10 batteries last about 30 days and their firmware is updated automatically when the battery is docked. If a T10 is discharged, the battery must be docked to retrieve all its metadata.

After her four-hour transition training, Constable Jax Fairbairn, of Gore, agrees the T10 is “the next step up”.

“I’m definitely a lot more confident [using the T10] purely because of the distance you can get between yourself and the offender now. The new probes are also longer and penetrate a lot more material than the X2s and its 10 shots makes a huge difference,” says Jax.

Keeping everyone safe

Axon Australia and New Zealand director of Taser strategic sales Chris Brand says the T10 was developed to fire subsequent probes because “we're looking for whatever is needed to see behavioural change in the subject”.

The T10 has upgraded technology, called a spread optimiser, which allows it to safely choose between the most effective two, three or four probes to attain the most effective NMI.

“Every 1/100th of a second, polarity in each probe changes between negative and positive until it works out the best pathway for the energy to follow [to achieve NMI]. There is no cumulative effect from putting more than two probes into a person. Also, the T10 has incredibly low amperage… less than a Christmas tree light bulb.

“[The technology] is very, very smart in this weapon,” Chris says. “Not only in its ability to manage the subject effectively, but also in terms of keeping the officer safe.”

Taser transition

Mandi Carmine, who is the project manager working within Operational Capability to deliver the $30 million Taser replacement project, is pleased with how the transition training has gone so far.

She says one of the key things about the training is that it’s “out of cycle”. “So when a staff member’s annual certification comes up for renewal, that just clicks over onto the new technology. Therefore we're not creating a spike [in recertification].”

A certain number of X2 Tasers will be kept in each transitioned district to cover recruits coming in and officers who transfer from a “non-T10-transitioned” district. “They'll use an X2 until transition training is available to them through a catch-up day,” Mandi says. “These will be held pretty much until the whole country is switched over.”

Mandi says that it is too early to understand whether there will be an increase in Taser use with the T10. “To date, there has been 22 ‘shows’ and only three ‘discharges’, which aligns to our standard Taser use data.”

The camera question

Deputy Commissioner Tania Kura addressed the lack of onboard cameras on the T10s last year, acknowledging “most other jurisdictions rely on body-worn cameras to record Taser use”.

Chris Brand says the shift away from Taser cameras to body-worn cameras (BWC) was driven by its customers, who sought to be more accountable and transparent in all their work. “Body-worn supplies officers with more capabilities for capturing evidence than just the stuff associated around use of force.”

New Zealand’s Southern district has been operating its X2 fleet without cameras since November due to low integrated-camera battery stock. They were desperately needed elsewhere, Mandi says, and the Southern officers would have soon been using the camera-free T10 anyway. Before that call was made, Police engaged with the Independent Police Conduct Authority, which uses the footage for its investigations as well as the Taser metadata and officers’ tactical options reports (TORs).

“The fact is [the T10] doesn't have an integrated camera,” Mandi says. “If it did have an integrated camera, we would have replaced with same-same.”

New Zealand has been debating the issue of BWC for more than five years. In September, Tania Kura said any plans to use them in New Zealand was being considered separately to the Taser upgrade.

Police Association president Chris Cahill says the organisation generally supports BWC. “They offer a much more compete record of what has occurred, and it is valuable for everyone to understand a situation in its entirety.”

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