ministry advises fishery officers to refuse union offer
9 January 2004
The Ministry of Fisheries has advised all fishery officers that it is against Ministry policy to use batons in the course of their employment.
National Compliance Manager Dave Wood was responding to a statement that the National Union of Public Employees would offer to issue retractable batons to fishery officers.
"We recognise that fishery officers do get into threatening situations from time to time and there is a health and safety issue to manage. The Ministry takes its employment obligations seriously and has taken a number of initiatives to train and equip staff.
"Legal advice is that the law would have to be changed before fishery officers could use batons in the course of their duties, and no decision has yet been made to proceed down this path.
"The Ministry's executive is looking at a proposal to issue defensive equipment. If this proposal is accepted, the Ministry would have to work with other Government agencies including Police and Justice to give Ministers advice ahead of any proposed law change as this is a significant public policy issue."
Mr Wood said officers had been advised that the Ministry will accept no liability if they elect to carry batons and fishery officers will be personally liable for their actions. NUPE has been informed of this policy and the union is responsible for its own actions.
For further information please contact:
Ministry of Fisheries
Tel 04 494 2369